It started off cloudy and windy and cool, with Bow enjoying the great outdoors. Then at one point I noticed that out in the yard, among Brownie's extensive collection of treasured rocks, there was what looked like a turtle shell. So I told Bow I needed to investigate and went into the back yard.
The dogs did not seem too concerned about the turtle shell, which was clamped shut and seemed lifeless, although I could see that someone was still in there by looking through the cracks. I showed Bow the turtle shell, then went to put it out on the front porch, where it would be safe from the dogs.
The turtle still showed no sign of moving, so I left it there and came back later to check. When I returned, it was nowhere to be seen, neither in the spot where I had put it, nor in the immediate vicinity moving away from the house. I spotted a rabbit in the pasture, but no turtle. How fast can a turtle run? I wondered. Thinking that the turtle was gone for good, I stopped to admire some wild flowers in my front yard.
It was only after I turned around to go back in the house that I spotted the turtle. It was very close to my front door.
The shell was open, and I could see its head looking out through the crack. It was shy but curious.
I went back in and took care of some things for Bow. By now Bow was in the inner pen. Then I brought out some vegetables for the turtle.I left the vegetables by the doorstep and went back inside.
My friend Pam, who is an expert on both turtles and Jean Laffite, identified it as a three-toed box turtle. She suggested I give it fresh corn and berries. I didn't have that, so I opted for cauliflower and cherry tomatoes. But the turtle did not go toward the vegetables. When I returned a little later, he had already moved again to put more distance between himself and the food.
I never saw the turtle move. But I did see him in a different location every time I came back. Once he was on top of a sack of potting mix.
The next time he was in my rock garden next to the porch.
By then, the weather was getting pretty stormy, and it was right after lunch. I cleared away the dishes and told Bow I was going out. Normally, I take my walk right after lunch. But this time I thought I would sit very still with my camera on the front porch and see if I could get some footage of the turtle walking away.
It started to rain, and the turtle was in an uncomfortable place, where all the run-off from the roof goes. Surely he will move now! I thought. But no. He stayed put and for five minutes I watched him do nothing while he was practically buried in water. Finally, I could stand it no more. I fished him out with a sigh and put him on the dry porch cement. Then I went back in to the pen.
When I checked again, the turtle had gone and no search could reveal his whereabouts. I hope he made it safely to the destination of his choice.
When I was little I wanted to adopt every animal I met. But now I am happy to host lots of independent animals on my land, most of whom I will never meet, who are all perfectly capable of taking care of themselves.
Bow was unusually calm during this particular storm. He was happy to have me back in the pen, and he even groomed me calmly during a thunderstorm. We were lucky with the weather we got, because people in adjoining areas had it much worse.