Since the discovery (or, rather, re-discovery) of dragons living among us, there has been a rush of people looking for information on how to adopt a dragon. Needless to say, this is foolishness, much like the idea of training dragons. Just as with cats, one can never be sure who is training whom, and it is highly likely that someone will wind up with scratches. It is, however, unlikely to be the dragon (or cat).
While training is a fool’s errand, adoption is not, as long as one recognises that here, too, there are certain similarities with cats (and, interestingly for the students of human behaviour among us, introverts). One must proceed with care and only the best of intentions, and be gentle in one’s manner, even when offers of friendship are met with rejection (as a side note, dragons and introverts have a higher rate of success when approached with cake. Cats remain a mystery).
Bearing this in mind, then, you will find below a list of suggested steps to follow when seeking to adopt a dragon.
How to Adopt a Dragon:
1. Establish exactly what sort of dragon you’re dealing with.
Is it a land dragon? These are easiest, unless you have a decent-sized fish pond in the garden. Sea dragons are even trickier than freshwater dragons, and I would strongly suggest not bringing one home with you, but rather setting up a more casual friendship where you visit them on the beach. The alternative is to maintain a steady supply of salt baths and live herring, which will likely prove expensive.
Land dragons have simpler requirements, needing merely a cosy spot to sleep and some nice sun to lie in, although they’re not ideal for apartment living, unless you manage to find a Lesser Green Teapot Dragon. They’re quite happy to live indoors for extended periods of time, but don’t clean your windows too often. They are somewhat short-sighted and may fly into them at speed.
2. Ensure you have found a full-grown dragon, and not a hatchling.
Not only do you not want any nasty surprises when what you thought was a spaniel-sized Marshland Horned Dragon (see top of page) turns out to be a baby Greater Spined Morble (which grows to the size of a horse and is perfectly capable of eating one on a weekly basis), but you don’t want any upset adult dragons accusing you of stealing their offspring. Cities have burned for less.
3. Approach in a confident manner and introduce yourself.
Never try and sneak up on a dragon – you don’t want to start things off by startling them. Centuries of being hunted for their teeth and hearts mean that you may frighten them into hiccoughs, causing throat burns. This is a bad way to start any relationship.
4. Offer to share a cup of tea and some cake with the dragon.
You’re best to take a picnic with you, as many dragons are wary about approaching human habitation until they know you. They might suspect you of being a dragon hunter, or, worse, a journalist for the Sun.
Make sure you have a suitable cup for the dragon, too. If you have been sensible and chosen a small to medium sized dragon, oversized soup mugs should suffice. For any size of dragon, don’t be stingy with the cake. You’ll need to bring the whole thing. Dragons have voracious appetites, a thing which is important to remember when considering adoption.
5. If the dragon is agreeable, arrange a day to have afternoon tea.
This will allow the dragon to examine your home, as well as for the two of you to become better acquainted. As much as you may wish to do so, try to refrain from squee-ing at the dragon and calling it cute. Dragons are, despite their affection for bad jokes and physical comedy, proud and noble creatures, and may not appreciate being called cute by a new friend.
Also avoid belly rubs unless invited. Not all dragons are fond of them, and if they have a very full belly of cake the results may be disastrous. Many a garden has been ruined by a nervously vomiting dragon. (Also ensure your dragon is not a Skittish Greencomb. Rather than breathing fire, they have evolved to eject their stomach contents at attackers, and have an exceptionally nervous disposition indeed. For most homes, this is an undesirable trait.)
6. Invite the dragon to spend more time with you.
DO NOT MENTION ADOPTION. As mentioned, dragons can be exceedingly proud, and may take offence to the suggestion that you, an unscaled and wingless human, want to adopt them. However, with the provision of much cake and tea, a warm fire to sleep in front of in winter months, and good conversation, your dragon may decide that it’s worth his time to come around more often. This is where it’s vitally important that you have not misjudged your chosen dragon — a Crested Purple Broadback, for instance, will not fit through an average front door. You will need to have a properly converted barn for them to be comfortable, as well as a deep mud bath for their sleeping area. They are certainly a challenging dragon, but well worth it for their musical skills.
7. Continue to treat your dragon with respect and love.
Just as with cats, dragons choose you, not the other way around. Allow them their freedom, don’t dress them in silly clothes unless they enjoy it, and make sure that they have a steady supply of their favourite foods. Depending on your dragon’s size and tendency, you may have to set up a wholesale account with the local butcher. It may also be advisable to invest in flameproof covers for the sofa if the dragon is to spend much time indoors.
I hope this has been of some assistance to those of you seeking to enhance your life by developing a friendship with dragons (or ‘adopting’ them, as has become common parlance). Please remember to proceed with caution, so as not to alarm the dragon, and to avoid those charlatans passing off alligators as dragons, no matter how convincing the transplanted wings.
What’s your favourite bookish (or movie) dragon? And which dragon would you like to adopt? I’m afraid you’ll have to make do with my goofy drawings for reference, as it’s a well known fact that dragons can’t be photographed. Let me know in the comments!
But, if you’d like dragons in your inbox, you can sign up for the newsletter below – I’ll even be giving away some goofy drawings to subscribers! Or you can read about the best scones to serve dragons here, or the problems of Monster Hunters and dragons over here.