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Weight Loss Update on George: The Morbidly Obese Lizard


Some of you have already met George La Rosa, our family’s morbidly obese bearded dragon, but, for those who haven’t, allow me to introduce him.

This lizard came into our lives when my brother adopted him as a pet in college a few years back. In those days, he was actually quite little and enjoyed perching on Robert’s shoulder, like a parrot with scales.

Now he lives with my Mom and Dad and under their care has become, well…fat. There’s just no nice way to say that. They were alerted to George’s weight being an issue earlier this year when they took him to the vet and discovered that a) George is morbidly obese and b) George is not a he, but rather a she.


Since then, Georgina has been on a much stricter diet, (down from 5 worms a day to just 5 a week) and gets plenty of fresh veggies. Additionally, an exercise regimen of walks in the grass coupled with some lizard-style swimming in a shallow bath have been introduced.

Admittedly, the progress has been slow. At times it even seems like Georgina hasn’t lost any of the weight she put on. But, just when I’m starting to lose faith, I’ll watch as she lifts her body and runs across our living room floor at full speed, charging at some unknown enemy. (Maybe obesity?)

It’s something I definitely didn’t see her do a month ago and the fact that she’s gained back that agility means that something is going right.


If you have any words of inspiration for George, or tips, then share them, won’t you?

On Janelle & Anthony’s Wedding


Today my friend from middle school, Janelle, will be marrying her fiancé, Anthony.

I feel lucky for a few reasons:

  1. I get to be a bridesmaid and stand by her side at the altar.
  2. Janelle found someone who suits her as well as Anthony does.
  3. I get to eat cake.

Just kidding on that third one!!!…Kind of.

In all seriousness, I have known Janelle for a long time. Long enough that she saw me through my fat phase, knows about that time in middle school when I locked our math teacher out of the classroom (Sorry, Mrs. Kaczowka!), and was there on my 20th birthday when I wrapped a sheet around myself and declared, “I am Batman!”

I didn’t really become close friends with Janelle until high school. We ran in different circles, even though in a school of 100 kids having circles seems somewhat pointless. But it was in high school, when I started to get involved with theater, that Janelle and I felt a kind of kinship. When I say “kinship,” what I truly mean is that we both made each other laugh.

We’ve shared a love of roller coasters, Anthony Hopkins (no relation to her now fiancé, though, admittedly, the shared first name seems oddly convenient…), haunted houses, dancing to “Peanut Butter Jelly Time,” and all things completely nonsensical.

Keeping in touch and staying close has not been easy, especially since I decided to go to Boston for undergrad and Los Angeles for grad school, and Janelle landed at FSU then Iowa for veterinary school. 

She also landed Anthony (or he landed her, rather) and, like some winged Amazonian bird, my feathers immediately went up when I sensed a threat to my friendship. However, I can say with great pleasure, that we have stayed friends and I couldn’t be more excited to watch them both start a life together! Xoxo

But to the millions who said we wouldn’t last, I’d just like to say…


I CAN HAVE MY CAKE AND EAT JANELLE TOO! Or, wait, that’s the saying, right? No…? Let’s make it one?

George: The Morbidly Obese Lizard


Meet George La Rosa: a morbidly obese bearded dragon.

George came into our lives four years ago when my brother, Robert, bought him as a pet while at college. The lizard would come home for the holidays and needed certain accoutrements (i.e. a heating lamp, live crickets, etc.) to stay in tiptop shape.

Then, when Robert got into medical school, it became apparent that he couldn’t take George with him, because lizards aren’t permitted on plane rides. (Hello, PETA, this is your next cause.)

Meaning that the new caretakers of George would be none other than my parents, Sheila and Bill. Now, George had steadily increased in girth and appetite, going from a svelte, agile climber to, as my Dad dubbed him, “a lethargic lizardo.”

George had also moved on from deftly chasing crickets to being hand fed live worms with a pair of tweezers. So my parents, being the Italian/Irish people that they are, would dutifully feed George to his hearts content. Unfortunately, his heart and tummy desired 8 to 10 worms per day—a substantial sum!

Eventually this gorging on invertebrates led to a health issue: one day George didn’t make a bowel movement. In fact, he hadn’t “moved” in several days, forcing my parents to wonder if something was wrong. They researched local reptile veterinarians, found an appointment and went, carting their poor George along with them.

What happened was this: My parents and George sit in a waiting room, the veterinarian, “a woman with rainbow hair and multiple piercings,” came out to greet them and, upon seeing the patient, began to laugh uncontrollably. Apparently the diagnosis was clear upon first glance: morbid obesity coupled with an inability of the patient to lift its own body.


The conversation was as follows:

Vet: How often are you feeding George?

Dad: Once a day.

Vet: How much?

Dad: 8 to 10 worms.

Vet: Seriously?

Mom: Is that bad?

Vet: Lizards of this size should be fed 2 worms once or twice a week.

Mom and Dad: Oh…

[Vet proceeds with a lizard rectal exam, feels around, looks surprised.]

Vet: Also, George appears to be a she. Georgina.


Vet: Can we take a photo of George for our Facebook page? I’ve never seen one this size.

Dad: Sure…

So, now we have a morbidly obese, sexually confused bearded dragon who hasn’t had a BM in days because it has, quite plainly, tried to eat itself to death.

Cut to the present: George is now on a lizard diet, consuming 2 worms twice a week and getting exercise on the floor of our living room. I can’t say that I’m noticing any immediate weight loss, but I’ve heard these things can take time.


Does anyone who may be going through a similar problem have any words of wisdom for George? Any weight loss tips?