By Katy Tomasulo

The Seattle Animal Shelter is widely known for going above and beyond to help find the most suitable homes for animals in its care. These efforts are in large part to the shelter’s dedicated staff and a strong, extensive network of foster parents and volunteers who house, care for, socialize, and promote adoptable dogs, cats, and critters.

That network of supporters grew even larger this year, extending into another of Seattle’s most well-known organizations— Pacific Science Center. Pacific Science Center, an educational center and museum dedicated to inspiring interest in science, math, and technology, has been serving as a foster home for Iggy Azalea, a friendly green iguana available for adoption from the Seattle Animal Shelter.

Iggy resides in the Center’s “RAM Zone,” which stands for reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. She’s among great company, with neighbors including Esteban, a boa constrictor Pacific Science Center has had since 2000, a turtle, a leopard gecko, and axolotls (Mexican salamanders), as well as a naked mole rat colony.

“We elected to send Iggy to Pacific Science Center because they have a larger habitat, and we were also hoping that the additional exposure would increase adoption opportunities,” says Don Baxter, the Seattle Animal Shelter’s Manager of Animal Care and Volunteers.

“This partnership allows us to have an awesome animal filling an exhibit space and also to make the adoptable animal more visible to the public,” says Lauren Bloomenthal, Lead Animal Caretaker for  Pacific Science Center. “Iggy is the first of the shelter’s [foster] animals to join us, but hopefully will not be the last.”

Though Iggy is Pacific Science Center’s first foster animal, she’s not their first SAS resident. The Center adopted a corn snake, Pepper Jack, from the Seattle Animal Shelter in August 2013, which was a catalyst for creating the current relationship.

As with Shelter residents and traditional foster homes, Iggy is getting great care during her time at Pacific Science Center, including food, love, and vet care if needed. She gets fed once or twice a day depending on how much she eats in one feeding, Bloomenthal explains. “In the early morning, she gets a nice mist shower, which she loves, and her breakfast. We sometimes take her out in the mornings for some socialization time,” she says. “Guests start arriving at 10 a.m., and she has lots of sights to entertain her throughout the day until we close to the public at 5 p.m. She spends most of her day basking, occasionally traveling around her cage to poop or lick things.”

Pacific Science Center reaches more than 1.3 million adults and children each year, offering Iggy and the Shelter serious public exposure. Her cage features signage explaining to visitors who she is and that she is available for adoption from the Seattle Animal Shelter.

“Guests really seem to enjoy seeing Iggy in her habitat. She certainly inspires a lot of curiosity,” says Bloomenthal. “When people read that she’s available for adoption, it’s often clear that they would love to be able to adopt her, but few feel like they have the capability of properly taking care of her. We’re still hopeful that the right adopter will find her and take on the awesome and exciting challenge.”

Along with her eventual adoption, Iggy’s role as spokes-reptile provides a range of benefits for the Shelter, notes Baxter. “It allows us to reach out to individuals who otherwise may never step foot in a shelter, showcase animals that people may not associate with a shelter, open up educational opportunities about responsible care, and, for Iggy, provide a larger living environment than what we would be able to provide at the shelter.”

It’s been a positive experience for the staff at Pacific Science Center, too. “Iggy certainly has a lot of personality, and we’ve loved getting to know her and seeing how she gets to know us,” Bloomenthal reports. “While we are excited about the possibility of her finding a permanent home, we will definitely miss her when that happens.”

To learn more about adopting Iggy, click here.