What do you think of when someone mentions dragons to you? Glamour? Magic? Bright scales? Flying? Billowing blue smoke? All of these and more? How cool would it be to fly to school on a dragon? Way cool! Flying above all those folk plodding through the puddles far below...
Well yes, a dragon is all of these things. But...like other pets there is a less glamorous side to pet ownership. Root will tell you it's a lot of hard work too, and the larger the animal the harder the work. There is feeding, handling, grooming, exercise and visits to the vet. Those scale mites don't just make your dragon's life miserable, they can bite you too! Owning an animal like a dragon is going to be expensive. Have you been saving your pocket money?
So imagine. You've arrived home this evening from a hard day at school. Exams are coming up. Your favourite TV series is on tonight but you have a ton of homework for tomorrow, including that history project that you've been avoiding. Winter is coming in and it's cold, dark and very wet outside. But your windglen widdershanks mare is only a yearling and she needs lots of exercise, and the roost will need mucked out tonight, you avoided it yesterday. So it's out with the shovel and cart. Mucking out dragon dung is no joke. There is a lot of it so you need big muscles! The bigger the dragon the bigger...well you get the picture, and you never thought of that when you bought her did you? She looked so small and cute in that window but she is going to get bigger yet. That done you get saddle and bridle out and tack up. On with the waterproofs and out into the winter sky.
It's miserable out there and you narrowly avoid collision with another dragon. The freezing rain is seeping down your neck and your fingers have gone numb, but your dragon is having a great time and doesn't want to go home yet, so resists your efforts to turn homeward. She can be quite stubborn when she wants to be. It's a whole hour before you get back to the roost, but before you get dry clothes on and some hot food you have to look after your dragon. A quick rub down followed by a brush, and check for any sores. Her hide is a little dry so you dig out the pot of birch balm - an unguent made of honey, birch sap and and stag-toad spittle that Root recommended. She's hungry. You go to the food bins to make up a hot oat mash sprinkled with thistles...argh! You've forgotten that the dried thistles have run out, and there's not enough oats either. So you have to run down the road to the nearest fodder station before it closes. And if you are one of the few like Quenelda who have a battledragon, well there's brimstone to consider. Volatile, heavy and very expensive... You finally tuck your dragon into her roost for the night and get changed. Grabbing a bite to eat you plump down on the sofa and...your favourite programme has just ended.
Well...that's the reality of pet ownership. It may be glamorous, fun and exciting most of the time. But, a lot of responsibility and hard work goes with pet ownership, so when you are out shopping this Christmas and you see that cute baby dragon in the window...Don't just ask Santa for one - have a good long think about it and go and talk to someone first - like Root who knows what it's all about.
And instead get the next best thing for the person you love: The Dragonsdome Chronicles