For the Love of a Turtle

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It all started a few years back when I was at the beach and feeling kind of bummed out.  I walked into a small chachki shop and there was a tank full of baby turtles.  They were awesome.  And only $18.  The guy told me they were like goldfish; they’ll only grow as big as the bowl you put them in.  They ate fish food and were very easy to take care of.

This was all false.  I got my red eared slider home and found out they require a special turtle diet.  A tank with 10 gallons of water for each inch of their carapace.  Heated water.  Land, especially for female turtles (which mine was.)  UV rays via a lamp.  And a pretty hefty filter.  I had the money.  I was annoyed, but took care of her.  Because I loved her.

I bought her aquarium decorations to play in.  She destroyed them.  I bought her minnows to eat.  She had one, then kept the other one as a friend for months until one day she decided to send it to its unfortunate end by swatting it into the filter.  Oh, and the filters?  I couldn’t just replace the cartridges.  She destroyed an entire filter about once a month.

I think she was happy.  She loved the boyfriend.  I can say that without a doubt.  She was just always following her instinctual drive to try to find an escape route.  It was costing us a pretty penny.  Our budget got slimmer.  Our time to devote to her grew less.  We had to do the right thing.

I took her to the Humane Society last month.  I put my finger to her tank and she followed it one last time.  I was in tears.  Yes, over a turtle.  She’s been with me for five crazy years seeing me through ups and downs.  She’s capable of living past my own likely expiration date.  I thought we’d always be together.  While she never showed the affection of more commonly domesticated pets, her presence also didn’t cost me a security deposit or a hike in rent.  She was perfect for me, until she wasn’t anymore.

I keep trying to call the humane society to check up on her.  They don’t put turtles down unless they’re seriously sick.  So even though I can’t get through (I took her to the original Humane Society, so they’re always busy,) I’m confident that she’s okay.  And even though it hurts to part ways, I know it’s better for her to have people who are capable of taking the absolute best care for her.

I have a feeling she’s done a lot better than her siblings that went home from that beach shop with eight year old kids and unsuspecting parents in a fish bowl.

 

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39 thoughts on “For the Love of a Turtle

  1. Mrs PoP @Planting Our Pennies

    Awww, she’s so cute. If you were in FL, we could have taken her and kept her in the backyard. We have a lot of turtles in the little lake behind our house, and Mr. PoP has even rescued several trying to cross highways and brought them back here to live. They’re fun to watch sunning themselves on the banks or flapping around eating in the shallows.

    Reply
  2. femmefrugality

    Aw you’re so sweet! The boyfriend says someone in the neighborhood does a similar thing, but I don’t know them and she’s been indoors her entire life. Plus it gets kinda cold in the winter here. :p I love that you guys do that for the turtles, though. They are such amazing animals.

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  3. lil desiqua

    Aww I’m sorry you had to let your little turtle go! But I’m sure the Humane Society will find her another home! Hopefully they will take as good care of her as you did!

    Reply
  4. StudentDebtSurvivor

    We had two turtles when I was little (among a million other animals). They were really cool to watch. We used to put them on the kitchen floor sometimes and the cats would just watch them like, “What is that moving rock with a head?”. They were a lot of work (cleaning those tanks is a job and a half), but a lot of fun. Sorry to hear you had to give yours away.

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    1. femmefrugality

      Lol I had a couple “pet” tortoises I caught in the woods behind my house in Virginia. They’d mysteriously disappear the next morning. Every time. I suspect my mother.

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    1. femmefrugality

      Oh, no. I couldn’t have done that. I mean, if she had been really sick or miserable or something I would have done what I had to do. But I didn’t just want to put her up on craigslist either….turtles are a lot more work than people think they are and I know the Humane Society will educate the new owners about everything that’s entailed.

      Reply
  5. Monica

    This is so so sweet and so sad too. I really feel sorry for the loss of your little friend, but am sure that you made a happy turtle home her. I’m sure that she is in a place where she can be well cared for now too. Wishing you all the best in the new year!
    xx – Monica

    Reply
  6. Jennifer Lynn @ Broke-Ass Mommy

    What a lovely tale to commemorate your sweet turtle—this story really touched me! I loved walking down the beaches of Hawaii and stumbling across all of the drowsy sea turtles getting all toasty in the sun. Turtles are just plain awesome.

    Reply
    1. femmefrugality

      Sea turtles are amazing. I’ve never seen one in the wild, but I saw one you could interact with at a special exhibit at the science/natural history museum in Raleigh once. It was really cool. Maybe I’ll have to hit up the Hawaiian beaches sometime…

      Reply
  7. canadianbudgetbinder

    Wow, I could feel the emotion in that post mate. I know how close we can get to pets like I am with ours. They understand more than we give them credit for. They know who takes care of them just like a baby does. Chin up! Mr.CBB

    Reply
    1. femmefrugality

      Thanks, Mr. CBB! I appreciate it. It’s hard to tell sometimes with turtles….they aren’t very cuddly :p But I know she had a particular affinity for the boyfriend. That much showed for sure.

      Reply
    1. femmefrugality

      That’s really cool. I think when I bought mine I wasn’t supposed to buy her that small for her breed, but I had no clue. Raising them from eggs sounds like such a fun experience. She had been domesticated since birth…don’t think she would have made it in the wild, but I considered it.

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    2. Megan, TfDiaries.com

      I think turtles know, but who really knows. The eggs were from box turtles from our yard that we put in this outdoors pin like rail rode tides and one day these little babies just started popping up, it was so amazing.

      Reply
  8. AverageJoe

    It sounds like your turtle was that bitchy friend you don’t want to like but just can’t help yourself.

    Nice tribute to her here. Sounds like you had a Driving Ms. Daisy experience with your turtle.

    Reply
  9. CF @ OutlierModel

    Aww 🙁 It’s tough when pets have to leave the family. I had to re-home my cat when I went back to school a while back. My budget was so slim, I wouldn’t have been able to afford any sort of veterinary care, should anything happen. Luckily, I was able to find a friend to take him.

    Reply
  10. Meredith

    Aw, yes! I’m sure she did far better than her siblings. Sounds like you showered her with love, and I know it was hard, but go you for making a responsible decision for her future. Hugs because when pets go, it’s always a sad thing in some ways…:(

    Reply
  11. Miss Caitlin S.

    oh, how sad! I’m so sorry that you couldn’t take care of her anymore. I would be bawling too. I had a Tortoise growing up that was just mine and though I didn’t have to pay for his needs, I think Tortoises are easier to care for than Turtles. I didn’t have the water tank and all that jazz that my friend’s had. Anyway, I loved my Tortoise and I know how funny and goofy they can be in their little homes. I’m really sorry for your loss! Hopefully, she will find a home where someone is equipped to take care of her rising needs.

    Reply
  12. Amanda

    I’m so sorry that you had to make this decision…but I know that you did the right thing. She’ll always have been a huge chunk of your life, and I know that she loved you just as much as you loved her 🙂

    Reply
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