Unusual pet guides student’s career path

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    Wink, a bearded dragon lizard, is not a typical roommate.

    Sophomore biology major Kiefer Hazard said Wink keeps to herself, eats her own food and is content to just hang out. But Hazard did not expect his pet to help him determine his future.

    "I want to be a small animal veterinarian," Hazard said. "I just have this natural curiosity and am intrigued by all animals, specifically reptiles."

    After spending his freshman year as a pre-major, Hazard declared a biology major in order to pursue a career as a veterinarian. Wink became a member of the TCU community when Hazard's six-foot python, Flick, couldn't join him in Fort Worth.

    "I intended on bringing him down here this year, but the tank was too big to fit in the car, so we ended up with Wink," Hazard said. "They're actually one of the most common family pets as far as lizards go, so I thought she'd be kind of cool."

    Hazard said that other pets throughout his lifetime helped foster his love for animals, including his python, geckos and most importantly his dog, Dodger, who died in January.

    "I was influenced a lot by my dog who was with me since I was 5 years old," Hazard said. "He was really influential on my family, [so] it's hard for me to imagine being somewhere without having a pet, so I got Wink here."

    Sophomore Patrick Cink, one of Hazard's roommates, said he supported Hazard's passion for animals, and hardly ever has any problems with having Wink around.

    "I know there's been like probably two times when I found crickets in my bathroom, [but] it's not a big deal at all. She's pretty easy," Cink said.

    Hazard said one of the best parts of having Wink as a pet was the reaction from friends and visitors.

    "Their first reaction—they jump, ‘is that a horned frog?'" Hazard said. "You know, ‘Yeah, it totally is a horned frog!' And string them along for a little while before maybe they realized I don't have an endangered species living in my room."

    Even though Wink will never be a horned frog, Hazard said his lizard has given him a real-life representation of everything he's learned from biology.

     

    Sophomore biology major Kiefer Hazard shares more about why he decided to get a bearded dragon lizard as a pet, and how it influenced him to pursue a career as a veterinarian.