Woman And Her Pet Tortoise Have Been Together For 56 Years

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Most of us know about the joy of having a pet.

Woman And Her Pet Tortoise Have Been Together For 56 Years

Most of us know about the joy of having a pet. Whether it is a lovely goofball of a kitten, a hyperactive puppy or an ever-curious little parrot, all pets are great sources of bliss and love. Though as lucky as we are to have such beautiful companions by our side, it's the cruel rules of nature that don't allow us such delights for long. While a cat's lifespan is about 13 years, and dogs tend to survive for 10-13 years on average, some pets only stay with us for a couple of years, such as hamsters and rats. Fortunately for one Milwaukee resident, her pet is very likely to outlive her.


When Jeanna Smith was a child, she used to be very fond of turtles. That is why it was no surprise when her dad gave her a gopher tortoise as a gift on her tenth birthday. While her parents expected their kid to form a bond with the little animal and teach her responsibility, it might not have been as obvious how lasting that friendship would be.


"I just really loved turtles," Jeanna recalled. Before getting her little tortoise buddy (whom she named George), she would often find a painted turtle and keep it during the summer, only to release it back to wilderness in the fall.


Since the day when she received her live birthday gift in 1962, Jeanna formed an inseparable bond with George. He'd always been by her side, no matter where she went. As a girl, she would often keep the pet in a basket while taking her bike for a ride, or bring it with her on vacations to another side of the state.


Jeanna was not the only person to cherish George. Her friends were also fond of the little animal and showered him with affection. Jeanna's own family treated George like one of their own. He would often get pampered and was fed strawberries and kiwi every Christmas morning. His owner even made them matching Halloween costumes.


As Jeanna grew older, the bond only grew stronger. She brought her little pet to the college campus once she enrolled. Even though her dorm rules didn't allow any pets, that did not stop Jeanna from keeping George in her room, she explained she managed to get away with it, likely because her dorm was all-girls and they all adored the tortoise.


As time moved on, Jeanna met her future husband, Kirby Smith, during her college years. Smith was quite surprised when he first met Jeanna's pet but soon realized that to be with her, he also had to like George. It was a package deal.


Her kids grew up with a constant companion, an unusual pet that you can't take for a walk, brush, or call up on your lap. But Jeanna says that he is sweet in his way.


Jeanna Smith is now in her mid-sixties. George has been her closest friend for more than 50 years. She has been caring for him for most of her life, despite him running away a few times, only to be found in the neighbor's yard. "Three times George has escaped his backyard, the most recent in 1988 when he burrowed under a fence" explained Jeanna. "A TV news crew showed up about the time George was discovered hiding beneath some foliage in a neighbor's yard. He was quickly whisked back to his home," she added.


Gopher tortoise's lifespan is usually from 40 to 60 years, and that is only in the wild. In captivity, this animal could survive for more than a hundred years. That's why it is very likely that George may outlive Jeanna and she is aware of it. The woman intends to pass her little pet over to her daughter's family. "When I go, then George will go and live with them. It's in the will," she concluded.


Woman And Her Pet Tortoise Have Been Together For 56 Years

Woman And Her Pet Tortoise Have Been Together For 56 Years

Woman And Her Pet Tortoise Have Been Together For 56 Years

Woman And Her Pet Tortoise Have Been Together For 56 Years

Woman And Her Pet Tortoise Have Been Together For 56 Years

Woman And Her Pet Tortoise Have Been Together For 56 Years

Woman And Her Pet Tortoise Have Been Together For 56 Years

Woman And Her Pet Tortoise Have Been Together For 56 Years

Woman And Her Pet Tortoise Have Been Together For 56 Years

Woman And Her Pet Tortoise Have Been Together For 56 Years

Woman And Her Pet Tortoise Have Been Together For 56 Years

Woman And Her Pet Tortoise Have Been Together For 56 Years

Image credits: KARE 11


Watch the video below to learn more about George's story:

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Thinking Humanity: Woman And Her Pet Tortoise Have Been Together For 56 Years
Woman And Her Pet Tortoise Have Been Together For 56 Years
Most of us know about the joy of having a pet.
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