Owner goes extra mile to find lost iguana A search, a bloodhound, fliers, party on agenda

September 17, 1997|By Dan Morse | Dan Morse,SUN STAFF

Things you do when your 5-foot pet iguana has been missing for nearly a week: bum out, call in the bloodhounds, throw a search party.

And so goes it for Dana Cole, 27, of Ellicott City. His pet lizard, Floyd, scampered off the back porch five days ago. The only thing Cole has captured since is media attention.

"Floyd Come Home," reads the top of a World Wide Web site devoted to the search, which Cole and his friends update daily.

The 3-year-old Floyd was last seen in a wooded area on the edge of historic Main Street in Ellicott City. Lizard experts speculate he may be surviving by climbing trees and munching leaves.

Cole and his buddies have posted about 100 fliers in the Ellicott City area.

Now they want to employ a bloodhound. The plan is to have the dog sniff Floyd's cage, learn the scent and go find Floyd. But bloodhounds are trained to track human scents, not lizard scents, said Millard McKay, president of the National Police Bloodhound Association.

"I have no earthly idea where they would turn to find an animal capable of doing that," said McKay, who's also the canine staff administrator for the Maryland State Police.

And even if a dog could track Floyd on the ground, there's the possibility he has long since left terra firma -- and is moving from the branches of one tree to the branches of another. That's just what Cole and his friends needed to hear: more bad news.

Each night that the temperature dips below 60 degrees, Floyd runs a greater risk of developing a fatal respiratory infection. Since Floyd's disappearance, lows have ranged from 61 to 58 degrees -- about average for this time of year.

"We're just trying to stay positive," said Nils Dennis, one of Cole's two roommates.

To that end, Floyd's friends are throwing a Happy Floyd Hour on Friday. The schedule of events:

5: 30 p.m.: Meet at 3785 Church Road, Ellicott City. Bring brush pants, long-sleeved shirt, binoculars.

5: 45 p.m.: Briefing and iguana information session. Distribution of "topo" maps.

6 p.m. to 7 p.m.: Search.

7 p.m. to ?: Party.

Floyd's web page advises readers to pray to St. Anthony, the patron saint for finding lost objects.

Cole and his friends took heart last weekend when a woman who works at a local coffeehouse told them her pet iguana was once lost for two weeks in Michigan -- in October. But it came back ornery.

"There is hope for Floyd," the web site notes. "Let's just find him before he gets too cynical."

Anyone with information on Floyd is asked to call Dana Cole at 410-203-9479.

Pub Date: 9/17/97

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