Loch Ness Turtle

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Turtle love.

The garden was looking lovely, humid days gave way to lazy afternoons amid the usual gardening chores. The worm farm was multiplying at a fast rate and I decided to move one tier of worms into the strawberry patch. It could use a boost. Digging around in the fresh soil, Millie & Mitch my Shetland Sheep Dogs were checking out the turtle pond for the resident fondly known as Loch Nessie. She was a rescue turtle now happily rehabilitated and living in this tropical utopia. Sure enough soon a little head appeared atop of the pond and Nessie emerged with green fronds stuck to her shell. It really was laughable to see this shell wandering around the garden looking like she was camouflaged. Nessie was just like another dog except with a shell. She knew especially if I was in the strawberry patch I would be digging around pulling weeds and finding grubs. Yum yum.


I mused that seeing all my animals gave me great joy and their respect for each species was amazing. There was no power struggle or any of that nonsense that we see in humans. It was simply respect and I nurtured and encouraged that adamantly. Millie would often be seen sitting out by the side of the turtle pond with Loch Ness Turtle sunning herself on her favourite rock. They had an understanding that was one of integrity and security. 


The strawberry patch was coming along nicely, a few fresh berries became turtle tucker, being seized and transported back to the pond by Nessie who consumed them underwater. That was the turtle way, she would forage through the ponds hunting the fish who sometimes were not quite quick enough. The pond was also home to many native frog species, with clutches of eggs being laid all year round. Most clutches were hatched in about three days and the morphing tadpoles usually became frogs at about 6 months of age, if they survived Nessie. 


Loch Nessie had her routine most days depending on the weather. If there was a change in barometric pressure it was instinctual for her to move to higher/safer ground. Turtle instincts are amazing really, she would wander about the garden flipping and flopping in her webbed feet with Millie watching over her. Millie had the gentlest nature and it was humbling to see her looking out for Nessie. In recent months Mitch had come to live with us and being a young sheltie puppy he tested the boundaries strenuously. Mitch was bemused by this wet walking rock, could not understand how she could pull her head in under her shell. He licked her, then tapped her shell with his paw, Millie growled a little at him. She was protective and telling Mitch this was unacceptable so he backed off and sat down. 


When Loch Ness Turtle first came to live in our garden it took some time for all to acclimatise. She had been someone’s pet originally and had grown up in a aquarium. Her growth had been curtailed and her shell was in a poor state. Her disabled back flipper had improved over time and with a healthy organic diet and lots of fresh air and sunlight her shell had improved drastically. I remember watching her when she saw rain for the very first time, slowly her life became that of an independent turtle living in security but within a habitat similar to one in the wild. It was heart warming to be able to do this & I wondered if she might need a mate. But she had always been on her own, these turtles were territorial and could fight another. Over the months and now years, she had evolved into a wondrous little turtle. She was quite use to me giving her shell a rub and a buff, and waited for me at a set time each afternoon for turtle tucker. In the cooler months she was not as active and tended to stay in the smaller outdoor pond that was warm and cosy. 


Cyclonic weather was a worry. While our bay was sheltered somewhat by a large offshore island we still had nasty weather to endure at times. On those occasions when flooding was most likely Loch Ness turtle had a indoor pond/pool that was situated in my ensuite shower area. She didn’t enjoy that really and managed to debunk herself from her indoor pond and clang around the glass shower screens. Millie would sleep right next to her bless her. We managed through the rough weather and when the cool crisp morning dawned we were safe and thankful. 


We have much to be thankful for and with so much unconditional love - what more could one ask for? In a complex world filled with political, financial and religious power the simple things in life are to be appreciated with humility and gratitude. My own little tropical haven was one that I built over the years, lavished with love and testament to a dream that I had……and made it happen.


Submitted: February 12, 2019

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