CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — From the outside, you might say Count Junkula is a business with a blood-sucking reputation.
But we “vant” you to take notice of the junk removal service’s pet project.
“I love him!” said operations manager Tiffany O’Sullivan, fawning over a bearded dragon that’s become her new sidekick.
“Like when you say Drac, he’ll look up,” she said.
“It’s a little strange sometimes,” GM Eric Saltrick told Queen City News. “I walk into Tiffany’s office, and she’s got a reptile on her shoulder while answering phones.”
“But it’s like a little baby’s nails, it really is; you can’t feel anything,” O’Sullivan said, describing what the lizard feels when he’s perched on top of her.
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“Just nursing him back to health… He’s really stole my heart!” said O’Sullivan.
Last month, a crew discovered the critter in an apartment in north Charlotte. Saltrick said the tenants were evicted in December and left many things behind, including the reptile.
“The crew that was working on this, they were very compassionate about the animal once they realized it was alive,” Saltrick said.
“I just fell in love with him,” O’Sullivan said. “And I thought I could really help him. I thought he would be good around here.”
She feeds Drac a steady diet of roaches and mealworms. Drac is getting healthier and more energetic each week.
Count Junkula hopes to introduce its reptile at public events starting around Halloween.
Like most living things, Drac just needed a shoulder to lean on. But his story is indicative of a trend that’s just cold-blooded.
A Dragon’s Den Reptile Sanctuary Rehabilitation and Learning Center helps animals that have endured terrible conditions.
Executive Director Alyssa Van Steyn said the problem is that many owners see the creatures as disposable.
“Most people don’t consider them animals,” Van Steyn said. “Where it’s like, ‘Let’s put them back in the corner, we’ll remember to feed them sometime.’ And then they’re forgotten.”
O’Sullivan can’t fathom why anyone would leave Drac in the dust.
“He’ll puff out his big dragon beard. He’s not scary! I know he thinks he is! He’s so cute!”
And if someone has to shoulder the responsibility of caring for Drac, the staff at Count Junkula figures it might as well be them.
“We just couldn’t let the little guy die,” Saltrick said.