Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sticking our necks out for a good cause

"Look what Molly found!" That should have been the clue that my evening was about to get interesting. Ernst came in with a big box. Hmm, what could it be? Buried treasure? A gold watch? An adorable kitten? Nope, this was going to be a very interesting evening. In the box was an extremely lively turtle! A turtle that was clearly thinking outside the box. He wanted out and he wanted out immediately.

I was repulsed and fascinated at the same time. My vision of a tortoise was a s-l-o-w m-o-v-i-n-g creature, not the little whipper snapper we had before us. It was healthy but not very happy! The encounter with Molly was all bark and no bite, at least none that got past the shell.

What to do with a turtle that came with no instructions? We called our neighbors, Hey do you want a turtle? I emailed a friend in Reno who was just saying she would like a turtle. Ernst asked yet another neighbor if he would like a new pet. We wondered if we should put up Found Turtle signs.

Ernst got on Google and identified it as a Box Turtle. He also discovered S.T.T.C. Sacramento Turtle and Tortoise Club. They have 950 members. Who would have thought? We called the founder and she said I could bring the little guy (or was it a girl?) to her house. If she wasn't home, I could put it in the aquarium on her front porch that is strictly for found turtles. Really? There are rescue tortoise people who live in the Greenhaven Area?

Off I went on my adventure with the idea in the back of my mind - Is this some sort of sick plot to kidnap the turtle rescuing public? Pushing that thought away I tried to drown out the scratching from the cardboard box with a riveting NPR interview. OK, I can't remember a word of it, but it helped at the time to keep my mind off a possible escape plot being hatched behind my seat. Hatched - what if it's a girl turtle?

Felice met me at the door and took our little guy into her turtle tested hands. It's a boy, she declared. How old, I asked? No telling, but he was a grown-up. They can live 150 years. And while we had tried to feed him lettuce and apple, they prefer meat and bugs. As I left, she was telling him there were lot of girl turtles there to meet. He'll be kept for one month in case he's a stray and then adopted into a loving home where he can live outdoors - without a dog.

"Yum, yum! Turtle Soup!"




"Who'd have thought there was a Turtle Club?"