Posted by: Kara Luker | February 2, 2012

A prodigal pet

And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate. Luke 15:23-34

Dog meets turtle

Madison, our twelve year old daughter, finished her dinner ahead of the rest of us and asked to be excused. Not a minute later we heard a scream from the family room, followed by a loud declaration that something was moving. Cole, our strapping sixteen year old, jumped up from the table to rescue his sister. From our seats in the dining room, John and I overheard Cole’s playful comment that turning on the light would help and then his laughter as he announced that the “moving” object was a sock.

I was getting ready to (lovingly) tease Madison for fearing a fuzzy sock, sort of like we tease our dog for her terror over a fork on the ground, when Cole shouted, “Oh my gosh, it’s Schtocky!!” This is about the time I flew into the family room, closely followed by John, and found our four year old tortoise stumbling out from under the sofa. This is the very same tortoise that had been missing for a month, presumably having escaped through the open gate in the yard, while in reality spending several weeks snuggly hibernating under the Ikea sectional in our favorite room of the house.

Schtocky is not quite as adventurous as his sibling, Klein, a notorious escape artist with wanted posters all over town, but he has still gone missing rather frequently. When I first owned these lovable nomadic creatures, their disappearances broke my heart. I would search high and low, post missing flyers by the dozens, and check with every neighbor in the vicinity. They always seemed to find their way back – usually discovered by a dog in a neighbor’s yard or by one of us in some obscure corner of our own. One time, Klein had been found by a construction worker down the street, living for a while in a another city with a different family and a new name (Franklin). Even then, she returned to the deluxe yard that we called home on her behalf. So I stopped worrying and let things work themselves out.

Klein has – once again – been missing for months. I picture her traveling the world and living it up. When she has had her fill, she’ll probably find her way home and I’ll write a kid’s book about it. In the meantime, we are very happy for the return of our once-lost pet, Schtocky. We didn’t kill a fatted calf, but we did gorge ourselves on homemade red velvet cupcakes as Schtocky sunk back into slumber in his cozy little house outside.


  1. Just as I was thinking it, I came to your “children’s book” comment. I think that would be a very fun book to both write and read. Kind of what James Herriott would have written if had ever owned or found a (prodigal) tortoise.

    Just make sure my copy is signed.

    • Love it! Thanks to your very generous dining room library, I have thoroughly enjoyed all the James Herriott books. One of my favorite authors to read, actually. I’ll try to adopt his delightful style and tell of fun adventures for the turtle rather than the more realistic adventures of getting gnawed on by a dog, run over by a car, or mistreated by evil children.

      And, yes, of course I will sign it. However, my signature still seems to have a G in it. Maybe I will have morphed that into an L by the time I actually publish a book. When’s yours coming out?

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