In a small town pet show in a park in Lindon, Utah you might expect a dozen dogs and a handful of cats. But at the Lindon Days Pet Show Thursday night, there were plenty of exotic pets, too. From a good natured Ancona hen to a rabbit named “Fish” to a powerful python, it was the exotics that seemed to clean up in the ribbon department in just about every category except “Most Tricks” and “Best Dressed.”
Judges and prizes and lots of good fun
The pet show was hosted by local veterinarian, Dr. Eric Hansen, who runs the A Caring Vet practice in Lindon. As hopeful pet parents introduced their animals Dr. Hansen provided interesting and helpful facts about the species or breed. He also provided very generous prizes for winners; 1st place received certificates for $75 off services at his clinic, 2nd place got $50 off, and even 3rd place got $25 off. Since A Caring Vet sees not only cats and dogs, but ferrets, reptiles, birds, and other exotics, the prize was well worth winning. Veterinary care for exotic pets is often pricey, and even if medical care is not needed, the clinic also offers services like beak and nail trims.
Representatives from the local PetSmart also participated in the event, with young employees from the pet store volunteering as a panel of judges, as well as bringing door prizes for all participants. Winners got a handful of these door prizes, as well as ribbons, as tokens for their awards.
Tempting and beguiling, “Adam & Eve” win “Most Exotic or Unusual” awards
There were several different categories owners could have their pets compete in, and exotics were well represented in all of them. However, there was one category that was all their own; “Most Exotic or Unusual.”
1st place went to a pair of muscular pythons named Adam and Eve. The enormous size of even one of the pair, seemed to weigh down one of their owners, a young boy, while his dad held the other. 2nd place went to another pair. Toothless and Sunny, 2 bearded dragons. Toothless was named for How to Train Your Dragon, whereas Sunny was named for her beautiful yellow color morph, called a “sunburst.”
3rd place was also named for a literary and animation character, from The Jungle Book. Kaa, who is a ball python. However, here in Utah, Kaa’s real life humans are arguably even more famous than his namesake. The Roberts family, well known for their parts in the extremely popular YouTube series, Kid History, as well as other BoredShortsTV productions like Kid Snippets, brought 3 award winning pets to the show.
Exotics win more than their own category
Calling a pet “exotic” may lead some to picture trained monkeys or even a tiger strolling along at the end of a chain. But it truth, your local vet may consider your animal too exotic for their clinic whether you have a common gerbil, a parakeet, or something more exotic, like a sugar glider or hedgehog. Even rabbits, once considered primarily livestock, are now often kept as cherished housepets. And with so many different breeds and types, these exotic pets were very popular at Lindon Days. What’s more, they were frequent winners, too.
While dogs are the usual pet that people associate with obedience and trainability, rabbits took both 1st and 3rd in “Best Behaved.” 1st place went to Fish, a Mini Rex, and a perfect example of the breed’s customary good natured calm personality, who even wore a little top hat for the occasion. 3rd place, Rosa, was a sweet and tiny dwarf bunny.
Rabbits also took 1st and 3rd for “Most Friendly” and 2nd for “Cutest.” The most friendly pet was determined to be Chloe, a Mini Rex like Fish, while 3rd place went to Kiwi, the adorable Mini Rex/English Spot mix. Both Mini Rex and English Spot breeds are known for being sweet natured. The 2nd cutest pet was a Dwarf Hotot called Peaches, with the “Eyes of the Fancy” that make these little darlings popular.
Those Maybelline eyes of Peaches also won her 2nd in “Funniest Looking”… a category that was originally listed as “Ugliest,” but nobody entered their animal. And rightly so, because none of these pets could be called ugly anyway.
1st place for “Funniest Looking” went to Lucy. Was Lucy a leopard gecko, Lucy’s 5 year old owner was asked. “Yes. But she is also a reptile.” What made her funny looking? “Because of all the spots. Also, she likes to crawl on the ground and she eats bugs.”
Creativity and missed opportunities
One of the most unique categories was “Most Original Name.” Kiwi the bunny, the 3rd “Most Friendly” won 2nd place for the most original name. Her owner said she was named Kiwi because, like the fruit, “she is sometimes sweet and sometimes sour.” 1st place went to Fintan Stack, a large cat owned by Brett Roberts of Kid History fame. The Roberts have recently been part of a popular ad campaign promoting Thanksgiving Point. Their creativity was obvious in Fintan Stack’s name. “It comes from a[n Irish/British] show called Father Ted.” (Father Fintan Stack is a priest… who may also be a werewolf.)
While rules dictated at most one of each prize per winner, winners could win multiple awards. Fruit monikered rabbits, Kiwi and Peaches, each won 2 prizes. So it is also interesting that certain pets were not entered in additional events. Looking out from a tiny exercise ball like a miniature version of Rhino from Bolt, another Robert’s family pet, a tiny dwarf hamster, won 1st place for “Cutest.” However, since the hamster’s name was Kirstie Alley, named as such by her young owner “because she gets fat and then thin and then fat again,” she seemed a perfect candidate for “Most Original Name,” as well! Additionally, Kirstie Alley lives with her sister, Kardashia. Unlike most hamster species, dwarf hamsters like Roborovskis are social. And well-behaved bunny, Fish, in his dapper stovepipe, seemed a shoo-in for “Best Dressed,” but was not entered in that competition. For that matter, Fish is a pretty original name… at least for a rabbit (as opposed to a fish).
Big plans for the future
For those who didn’t enter as many categories as they liked, or who came only as spectators this year, they will get another chance in the future. In fact, Dr. Eric Hansen hopes to organize not just a pet competition, but an entire pet fair, to be held next spring. The event would go a whole weekend and have a variety of attractions. There would be agility competitions for dogs, Splash Dogs dock diving demonstrations, and rescue groups with adoptable pets. Dr. Hansen asked for input from participants as well. “We’d also like to have events involving other pets, like exotics… if anyone has any ideas.” Possible activities include presentations about wildlife rehabilitation and a hedgehog show. Critters 2 Go is an animal educator, but also rescues exotic pets like African pygmy hedgehogs. They would love to help plan a show.
“Ideally, an IHA (International Hedgehog Association) Sanctioned show would be amazing if we can find enough participants. It’s not like a dog show; a hedgie doesn’t have to be a pedigreed purebred to be IHA registered and entered in the show. It is way more about education and correct care. But if we can’t pull an officially sanctioned show together, even just an educational exhibition type would be really fun and informative.”