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Land tortoise has quite the adventure


Last updated 7/3/2018 at 10:05am

Mrs. Doubtfire happy to be on her home turf in Elmer City. - Photo courtesy of Sarah Shanning

Sarah Shanning was quite upset when she couldn't find her 7-year-old African land tortoise, Mrs. Doubtfire, who escaped from her yard in Elmer City on May 26.

Shanning put up fliers looking for Mrs. Doubtfire, and took out an ad in The Star newspaper.

Weeks later, on June 15, Shanning was reunited with Mrs. Doubtfire while at her job at the Tee Pee Drive In.

"We were beginning to lose hope about finding her, and then there she was!" Shanning said of the reptile, which she thinks is 7 or 8 years old. "She's happy now."

So how did the land tortoise get from Elmer City all the way to the Lakeview Terrace area?

What appears to have happened, Shanning said, was that someone found Mrs. Doubtfire, and brought her to their house near Lakeview Terrace. From there, Mrs. Doubtfire dug out of their yard and ended up at the nearby home of Bob Valen. Valen then called the local veterinarian, who gave Valen the number to reach Shanning.

Valen then brought Mrs. Doubtfire in a plastic container back to her rightful owner at the Tee Pee Drive In, was offered a reward and said that someday he'll take a burger as a reward.

Valen is also curious about the tortoise's journey. "How in the hell did Mrs. Doubtfire get from [Elmer City] to my place, which would involve crossing either the Columbia River down from Grand Coulee Dam or crossing Lake Roosevelt up from the dam and up lake where we live? Were aliens involved?" he wondered.

Whether it was extraterrestrials, a forest service employee, or simply an incredible journey, the end result is the same: a tortoise reunited with its owner.


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