Woman and Tortoise Have Been Besties for 56 years

Posted by Christy Caplan
George
YouTube/KARE 11

There is nothing more spectacular than the human-animal bond. The human-animal bond is a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and animals. This bond has a powerful impact on the health and well-being of both. The animal you choose to share that bond with can be a dog, cat, horse and a tortoise. Perhaps one of the best examples of that bond comes is a story about a woman and her now old tortoise!

For her 10th birthday, in 1962, Jeanna Smith was surprised with a special gift: a pet tortoise. They are still together 56 years later. This is a Gopher tortoise and his name is George.

Smith tells Kare 11 News

"George is probably my oldest friend. He would ride in my bike basket when I was a little girl."

Today.com interviewed Smith and discovered that the tortoise was a gift from her father,

"Every summer I would find a painted turtle and keep them for the summer and then in the fall (when Smith returned to school) I would have to release them. Eventually, Smith's father decided to give her a pet turtle. He was friends with the director of the Milwaukee County Zoo, who found a gopher tortoise that was perfect for Smith.

"It was a really, really wonderful gift for me. It, of course, meant a lot, and still does."

George has been on a lot of adventures over the years. He's been dressed up in Halloween costumes to match Smith's costumes. He was a bumblebee and a ladybug one year.

He even spent time at the University of Wisconsin in Smith's dorm room in 1970.

George has also outlived five dogs.

Tortoises can live up to 100 years in captivity. Smith's daughter will take George IF he outlives her as she wrote this into her will.

Can you imagine receiving a wonderful pet as a gift as a 10-year-old and having that pet all those years later as an old woman? Smith has pictures of George in bee costumes! And George probably celebrated a birthday party or 56 with Smith!

The story also talks about their adventures when her family would go to Lake Michigan for family vacations during the summer. We're so happy this TV news crew went to her home in Minnesota to meet Smith and get the entire story. Boyd Huppert is a fabulous journalist and this is one of my absolute favorite stories.

Ths strawberry-loving pet is a great pet! But...

As the video mentions though, don't run out and look for this tortoise! They are on the endangered list and are a protected species so you don't want wildlife services coming after you just because you had to live with a young tortoise. It's not worth it!

What is the age of the oldest pet you've ever lived with? Please leave us a comment below! 

WATCH NOW: Why Pets Are the Best

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Woman and Tortoise Have Been Besties for 56 years