Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rest in Peace...beloved tortoise, Shelly

Shelly, our russian tortoise has been a fixture in my life since my oldest son was in 5th grade.  He is now in the 11th grade.  I found her in her box this morning and she was gone.  I was wondering how I would be able to tell if she was gone as I walked in...but it was fairly obvious and she was pretty stiff.

I have to say, I loved that tortoise.  I know this sounds funny and really, it is...but I am terribly sad.  My husband called about the time I walked over to her box, I picked her up and started to wail into the phone..."She's dead, Shelly's gone, Oh yeah, she's gone...Ohhhhh"...My husband was sad too..."Oh, poor girl" he said..."poor old tortoise".  I walked around holding her for a little while hoping I may be wrong...kind of like when I would pronounce someone dead at the hospital and then wonder if I saw them move...but sweet, slow, quiet Shelly is gone.

So now we are left to pick up the pieces.  I spent about 90.00 on Monday at Petsmart getting different lights to warm her up...75.00 at the vet for fluids and vitamins...I bathed her 3 times a day for the last two days trying to get her to come around.  I even would drop little droplets of water in her mouth because the vet said she was cold and dry.  What will I do with my time now...I really thought I was going to be able to save her.  But I could not.

This morning, I knew.  When I went to say good morning to her, I could see she really wasn't waking up well.  When I picked her up, it looked like she had red spots on her shell.  I turned on the lights, dropped some water in her mouth and  called the vet.  I was expecting a call back when I found her dead. 

My oldest son would usually pick her up like a sandwich and fly her around the kitchen bringing her up to everyones face to say hello.  She would wiggle her arms and legs like she was swimming in the air.  She stopped doing that lately so we were pretty sure she wasn't doing too good.  As for me, Shelly and I frequently read the Sunday paper together...I read and she tried to climb off of me.  But, I loved to look in her eyes and figure out what I thought she was thinking.  Sometimes I am sure I knew too.  She seemed so smart.

My oldest son sat with her last night for quite a while talking to her.  He kept calling her girl and telling her to get better.  My youngest wanted to give her water but she wouldn't open her beak.  She was on her way out then.  I guess I was just hoping for the best.

I asked my husband if we should make tortoise soup and he said..."We better not."  So, we will bury her in the yard next to all of the other animals that have gone before her...dogs, cats, guinea pigs, and rabbits.  We'll dig a hole and say a prayer and then all put a shovel of dirt on the shoebox.  I am sure we will all cry.  And dear Shelly will be back in the dirt where she belongs. 

So my dear Shelly...may you be warm and toasty, be able to move around your box and have all the best greens that you want wherever you end up.  If it's in animal heaven, say hello to Sluggo, Marmaduke and Abby for us.  We love you and will miss you so much, girl.

We'll tawk later,
I love you all,


Ms. Moon said...

Oh, Terry. I am so sorry for your tortoise-loss.
Turtles are sacred in many religions. Did you know that?
Here's a book you should read: Search For The Great Turtle Mother by Jack Rudloe.
I think you would like it.
Meanwhile, my love to you and all of your family.

Lo said...

So sorry!

I love tortoises. So glad you showed the proper respect and didn't make soup out of her. I would say she was one lucky tortoise to have been such a beloved member of your family.

Terry Joy said...

@ Ms. Moon- Thanks for the kind words. I never met a more peaceful being than this tortoise...she is and was sacred in my house.

@ Lo-Hello and thanks for the comments. I loved that tortoise...she was so wise and peaceful. They say that's how tortoises are but ours was special.

Elizabeth said...

My condolences -- I am sorry for your loss, but I did love hearing how all the sweet members of your family mourned the turtle.

Mel's Way or No Way said...

Poor Shelly. May she rest in peace.

I'm so sorry for your loss. They are such beautiful and peaceful creatures.

Mr. Shife said...

Deepest condolences to you and your family, Terry. I am very sorry for your loss. Sounds you did everything you could and Shelly will be deeply missed. Take care.