Drew Desjardins holds Spot, a 7-year-old green iguana, at Mr. Drew’s Exotic Rescue and Education Center at the Pepperell Mill on Lisbon Street in Lewiston, as Annabelle Longley of Auburn cautiously sneaks a peek Wednesday afternoon. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — Spot’s owner was terminally ill and worried about his beloved pet iguana. After talking to the owner’s sister, Cindy Dumont, Drew Desjardins of Mr. Drew and His Animals Too agreed to take Spot in.

Gene Hanna and 7-year-old Spot were “best friends,” Dumont said of her brother.

Drew Desjardins cringes a little as the Spot’s sharp claws dig into his shoulder. They can be trimmed but stay sharp, he said. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

She’d also said Spot was big. Desjardins didn’t realize she meant BIG.

He arrived at Mr. Drew’s Exotic Rescue and Education Center in the Pepperell Mill on Saturday, a roughly 15-pound, 4-foot long green iguana that dwarfs the other green iguanas there.

Desjardins credits good genes, good care and a house where he had free roam. He and Spot visited Hanna, from Auburn, in hospice Wednesday.

The family placed his hand on Spot’s head while the iguana sat in Desjardins’ arms. Spot would look at him and cock his head and looked back at me,” Desjardins said. “He knew. I was blessed to be a part of this. It was a beautifully sad experience.”


Dumont said Spot had always come first for her brother, no matter what.

“He treated Spot like a king,” she said. “(He) was a very spoiled lizard. They had a great relationship.”

Green iguanas used to be sold in pet stores in Maine but now require permits to keep. They eat plants, fruits and vegetables and can live into their 20s.

A 7 year old green iguana named Spot at Mr. Drew and His Animals Too facility on Lisbon Street in Lewiston at the Pepperell Mill. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

“They can be very aggressive if you don’t work with them,” Desjardins said. “We have some, you don’t pick them up, you get scratched up. This one here, Spot, was very much loved, there’s no question about it.”

Dumont originally called several months ago saying her brother wasn’t well but wasn’t ready to part with his pet. Last week, it was time. Desjardins originally planned to find Spot a new home, but changed his mind and Spot will become part of the education center.

“He can pass knowing that his friend isn’t going to be bounced around from home to home,” he said.


After living a quiet, only-pet life, Spot was still getting used to the noise of children and seeing other animals — a turtle spooked him earlier this week. He’s got some settling in to do, and after that, he’ll likely live in the tortoise area so he can climb and roam there.

Reptiles can cuddle and be affectionate, Desjardins said. He used to have an iguana that would run up his shoulder and lick him.

“If you’re treating an animal right, the animal’s going to respond to that,” Desjardins said. “Love is love. If you love an iguana, you love an iguana. What’s saying you have to love a dog?

“This was his best friend, that’s how it was put to me,” he added. “I can relate to that. This is not a random pet the guy had and now it just needs a home. We get a lot of those animals in, it doesn’t matter; it’s no different than if I was giving you a chair. But this one here, there was more. He wanted to make sure the animal was going to the right home. That’s a big thing (when) you’re dying and you’re still more concerned about your pet than yourself.”

Drew Desjardins with Spot, a 7-year-old green iguana. They eat plants, fruits and vegetables and can live into their 20s. He’s been told Spot is partial to watermelon and green beans. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

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