Tommy TortoiseTuesday, June 07, 2016
When I was little, and my hankering for a kitten was at it's highest, I remember thinking that a tortoise would make a most unexciting pet. You couldn't hug it or let it sleep on your bed. It certainly wouldn't chase balls of wool.
Fast forward 30 odd years and having hung out with Tommy on occasion I have to admit that I was wrong.
I love this little dude.
He belonged to Andy's Grandma, and since she passed away Tommy has been living with Andy's parents. I get to pet-sit when they go away for the weekend, and I always look forward to his visits.
Most recently he spent a few days chomping on our wet-the-bed weeds - what are they called? As a kid I believed that if you picked one, you'd wet the bed that night. I was too scared to test the theory. I have no idea where that came from, but if my Mum had been savvy she'd have told me the same about picking strawberries from the garden and she'd have had a lot more for making jam.
Anyway - dandelions! - it just popped into my head - Tommy is partial to a dandelion or two. And we have plenty in our lawn that we're more than happy for him to chomp on.
We pop him out in his run in the morning when it's warmed up a little and leave him there until it turns cooler in the evenings. At night he has a box to sleep in with some newspaper bedding. We pop him in the pantry as our cats are partial to jumping into boxes, and we want to avoid any tortoise / cat related mishaps.
The cats are a little bemused by him. They get to within a few feet and the next move Tommy makes has them beating a quick retreat. It's so funny to watch.
I like to let him out of his run when he's here and we go for a walk. I discovered if I wear something bright he happily follows me around the garden. But I have to keep an eye on him, he's not slow by any means, he can really move!
We have no idea how old Tommy is. He's been around for as long as Andy's Mum can remember.
Many years ago Andy's Grandad drilled a hole in his shell, and attached a ring so that they could tie a piece of string to a pitch fork stuck into the ground, and leave him to wander in the garden without losing him.
Although they did lose him once, he went on an epic journey. He was gone for days before being discovered several gardens away. He was found by a neighbour who'd grown rather fond of him, she didn't really want to give him back.
He's sweet, his slow(ish) movements seem deliberate if a little doddery. When I go to his run he often greets me by walking over and trying to climb up the side. He'll always tip over his water bowl, and try to climb over your legs when you sit with him, always choosing the most challenging route to get anywhere.
Yes, I think a tortoise makes a most lovely pet.