Woman Spends 56 Years With a Beloved Tortoise Who Was Given to Her on Her Tenth Birthday in 1962

In 1962, a little girl named Jeanna was given a baby gopher tortoise during her tenth birthday party at the Milwaukee County Zoo. From that day on Jeana and the little reptile whom she named George became completely inseparable from one another. George accompanied Jean to college, was there when she fell in love and remained a constant and has remained a beloved fixture in Jeana’s family for 56 years. Except for those times when George ran away from home.

Three times George has escaped his backyard, the most recent in 1988 when he burrowed under a fence. The neighborhood kids came to help with the search. 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.

And that’s where George remains to this day and will so for a long time. George can live up to 100 years old and Jeanna has made arrangements for his care in her will.

I have one daughter and she has three children,” Jeanna says. “When I go, then George will go and live with them. It’s in the will.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.