San Diego

Del Cerro Woman's Shelter Success Story Inspires Book

A Del Cerro woman found an incredible bond with her rescue animal at an uncertain time, and their connection even inspired her to write a book.

Now she’s sharing her shelter success story in hopes that it teaches at least two lessons.

Mary Francis Wilder adopted her Angel in early 2015. At the time she was still getting over the loss of her last pet, Babe, and wasn’t sure she was ready to take care of Angel.

“It's amazing how many iguanas are available for adoption," Wilder said.

That’s right. Babe and Angel are iguanas. Most people think of dogs, cats or even rabbits when considering pet adoption, unaware of the joy and happiness a reptile or lesser-acknowledged pet might bring them.

Wilder’s a prime example. Although she never considered herself reptile fan, she rescued Babe from an owner who was getting rid of him and the two spent more than two magnificent decades together.

“The only thing you’re going to get out of an iguana is hopefully a little cuddle time at night before they go to bed and be able to pet them,” Wilder said.

Babe evoked a love for reptiles that Wilder never knew she had. A few years after Babe passed away Wilder still wasn’t ready to replace her. Then she met Angel at a San Diego shelter and her love for iguanas was inspired further.

Gaining so much from her more than 20 years of reptile companionship, Wilder decided to write “Understanding The Iguana: Secrets of the Iguana Whisperer.”

“Well the purpose of the book is to understand that all animals, they have feelings,” Wilder said.

The book also aims to teach people about the ways of the iguana and the firsts steps to communicating with the King of Lizards. Who knows, maybe it’ll even inspire you to adopt species you never knew you wanted.

This Saturday, August 17, thousands will participate in NBC 7 and Telemundo 20’s annual Clear the Shelters event where adoption fees will be waived at shelters across the county.

Find a participating shelter near you here.

In honor of the event, Wilder is offering a free digital download of her book on Amazon on Aug. 17 and 18. The promotion will not be available before the weekend. 

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