Disney's Cool Pets

Two and a half years ago, in September of 2002, I got a call from Chrissy O’Grady, my dear friend and reptile mentor. She had received a phone call from a casting director at Disney, one who is familiar with the Reptile Family’s animals, and has used them for TV and film work.

“Do you know any camera-friendly kids with interesting pets?” she asked. Minutes later, my phone rang. Chrissy explained what Disney was looking for, and gave me their number. I called the casting director and enlisted my ten-year-old son, Evan, and his eight pets. A week or two later, the Disney Cool Pets crew came to the house, and taped Evan and his critters for a couple of hours.

Little did I know that Evan’s segment of Cool Pets would run for two and a half years! Yes, it’s still on the air. And Evan is a star.

Especially in the early days, children from all over the country would approach him for autographs, but more importantly, information about animals! And where do you think he learned how to love and respect creatures? From Chrissy O’Grady and the Reptile Family.

I feel that Evan’s experience has been a wonderful vehicle for spreading the word to countless children. He loved sharing his mouse, bearded dragon, baby tortoise, cats and fire-belly toads with the kids of America. He also loved the attention, and has gone on to become a professional actor. Chrissy gave him the greatest gift an actor can receive – his or her first break in the ‘biz. It has been Evan’s joy to continue his wonderful friendship with the Reptile Family. Just think – it all started with his sixth birthday party, and now he’s thirteen!

– Victoria Wood


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