I posted this on FB the other day, and it got a positive response from pet and animal lovers, so I’m expanding upon it a bit here. It rings a tad sanctimonious, but really folks, a pet IS for life, and you shouldn’t consider having one if you can’t fulfill that responsibility.
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We’re keeping a close eye on Midori, our turtle. It’s getting colder at night, and she’s starting to follow us around, wanting “uppy” for cuddling and warmth. We’ll be putting her on a heated gel pack in a basket overnight soon.
No, we’re not spoiling her, we’re keeping her healthy. If she gets too cold she starts shutting down. Yet on the other hand, she can’t get cold enough in the house to properly hibernate. We’ve discovered over the years that this “not quite here/not quite there” situation over winter is not good for her, as she starts to lose calcium etc.
We had a bad scare a few years ago when her limbs began puffing up during a semi-hibernation. After a costly vet visit, it turned out that in her semi-somnolent state her body was still “consuming” minerals, etc., but since she wasn’t eating anything, her system was sucking the calcium out of her own bones.
So the last few years we’ve kept her warm all winter. It’s a lot of work, but she’s much the better for it.
As I’ve said many times before, we do NOT recommend turtles for pets. Keeping them healthy and happy is a lot of work, and they can live for 40+ years. We didn’t know that when we got her 21 years ago.
But we will never give up the responsibility we took on when we made the (then admittedly uninformed) choice to take a red-eared slider into our lives.
And we will never dump her in a local pond or creek. She doesn’t belong in the Canadian wild. She’s not a native species. And she’s so used to humans that she’d likely follow anyone she saw, begging for food. And we all know that not all members of “our” species are good to other animals, eh?
She is ours, for better or worse, in sickness or in health . And you cannot divorce or just dump a pet, eh?