The Little Dog that Could

Once upon a time, there lived an old* woman who suffered a broken heart after her husband died.  Although she had family and friends who loved her dearly, she lived alone and wished for a little companion to keep her company. One day, the old* woman went with her daughter to visit their friends who lived on a ranch in the country. There, the old* woman met a mischievous little puppy that she immediately took a liking to. She was told the pup was a trouble maker…harassing the horses, pestering the neighbors, chasing cars and perhaps, needed a new home. So, the old* woman took the little dog home to live with her. To keep the puppy safe and out of trouble and fulfill her wish for a companion to keep her company. She called her new little friend Bizbee.

Because the old* woman loved Bizbee so very much, she decided to find her a friend. So, she brought home another puppy she named Benson. The old* woman loved both of her dogs more than anything…Her very life revolved around them!  Over the next several years, Benson grew into a giant 100 lb. dog who commanded all of the attention from the old* woman and anyone who came to visit. But, little Bizbee loved her Benson and didn’t mind that she was not the center of attention.

Because the old* woman loved her dogs so much, she became obsessed that something might happen to them and went to great lengths to keep them safe! Both dogs were never allowed to leave the house for fear they would run away. The old* woman’s daughter pleaded with her mother to let the dogs, at least, come visit her house. But the old* woman was too frightened because her daughter and son-in-law lived where there was no fence, lots of sharp cactus and dangerous wild animals roaming about! But her dogs were happy with their lives. They were well loved and well taken care of. They loved the old* woman and the old* woman was happy.

One day, the old* woman had a stroke and became very ill. Her family was  overwhelmed with taking care of her so, her precious dogs were sent to a ‘safe’ foster home until she was well enough to care for them once again. But, the old* woman did not get any better and she died…Most likely, a broken heart contributed to her death, as she was afraid she would never see her beloved Benson and Bizbee again….

And this is where the story begins…

My mom passed away on December 5th. She had a stroke the first of October and started to recover, but had another stroke and complications that she could not recover from. The day after she died, I called the foster home caring for Benson and Bizbee to see if they would adopt both dogs. My mother was adamant about keeping them together. Benson, a 100 lb. labradoodle was just too much for our little pack, so Todd and I could not take them.The foster mother, our local groomer, was happy to adopt Benson, but Bizbee?…Well, she was a ‘problem’ dog.

Todd and I agreed that we would bring Biz home and see if there was anyway she might be able to live with us….at least until we could find her a suitable home. We were worried that having led such a sheltered life, we would encounter all of the horror’s my mother had imagined…Chasing rabbits for miles and getting lost…fighting with a javelina…getting impailed on a cholla, getting bitten by a rattlesnake, running away at first chance…With Bizbee, you just never knew. She loved to pounce on birds and chase lizard’s in my mom’s yard, much to my mother’s horror! Bizbee could be a handful!

 

I brought Bizbee to our home on Dec. 9th.

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She was a little lost and forlorn. My heart ached for her as she found the blanket that covered my mom when she passed away, and laid on it the first day she was here. But then she found Baily. She had known Baily and our other dogs for years since we had taken them to my Mom’s house many times! I’m sure this was a huge factor in adjusting to her new environment.

Since we were a little nervous about letting her outside, we got a tether so we could hook her up on the porch without worrying about her bolting. But poor Bizbee was not very happy with this situation!

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‘ The evil eye 😉 ‘

 One afternoon, shortly after Bizbee came to live with us,Todd left that sliding door open, forgetting about Bizbee. Upon entering the house and realizing Bizbee was no longer in the house we panicked! I  would be devastated if we lost her! All the fears my mom had would be validated!

But, as soon as we prepared to go walk the neighborhood in search of her, little Bizbee calmly walked into the house from Todd’s Backyard, looking at us like “What’s the big deal?”.

Since then, the tether has been put away and Bizbee is free to have new and fun adventures in Todd’s Backyard….

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 Helping Todd grill with Daizy is one of the best!

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However, it would probably be much more fun to actually help him get the chicken to put on the grill!

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Bizbee has taken her seat on the porch…She does not chase the rabbits, she does not eat lizards (yet). Her only mishap has been an infected cactus thorn in her paw (Sorry Mom!)

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Bizbee has found a new life with a family that loves her, and is also trying to find a new life after the loss of someone they all loved.

Epilogue:

After the little dog found a new home,  she became the little dog that could….

She could make new friends.

She could investigate the yard as she pleased…for the most part.

And she could mend a broken heart…for the second time!

And as for the *old woman’s daughter…..She apologizes to her mother for calling her *old ( Therefore the *) and hopes that her mom is not rolling over in her urn for posting this blog-  But the daughter is sure that that her mother is happy in heaven knowing that her beloved Bizbee is still well loved and taken care of and will live happily ever after.

Mom, rest in peace…

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 A little part of you is still with us through Bizbee….Thank you!

Wild at Heart…Happy in Heaven

There was a strange little creature that inhabited our home and our hearts for the past 12 years, who we bid farewell to with memories and tears. Our little wild cat, Zoe left us yesterday, for a place in heaven where she can frolic and play…and cuddle and slobber, purr and wiggle…and will surely make the angels giggle!

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Zoe loved her doggies, she was one of the pack. When she went on an adventure they’d have her back.

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 She loved to hang out on the porch and sit in the sun, or play with her ball….oh, so much fun!

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Part monkey, part dog and part purrrincess diva, she was a cat like not other, and had only one pet peeve(a). If her looks got scruffy and hairs to fluffy, she would pout and get ‘pissed’ and let us know when enough was enoughy! So off the the groomer she’d go to get pretty and then, once again, she’d be our good little kitty!

Zoe rocked her cropped look, so stylin’ with her mane!…In fact, her little lion ‘do’ became her claim to fame!

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Although this pic that aired on the news without her happy face might lead you to believe she was slightly disgraced. But make no mistake, Zoe was happy and loved, and is purrrrhaps  looking down right now and smiling at us from above!

Zoe was 14 years old when she passed away yesterday from a bloodclot that burst in her lungs. Rest in Peace little lion cat!

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NOTE: All events are true and captured as it happened by Todd this morning, over the course of about 1 hour and 1 pot of coffee. (For best entertainment value, read with a Southern drawl)….

Out back by the chicken coop, if you take a stroll,  ya’ll will find some high ground, full of little round holes. We call it this little rise ‘What-the Hill’… And, it’s where the tarantulas live and get on their thrill!

It just so happened, this Sunday morn, Todd stumbled upon some big spider porn. It was actually Daizy that found the big fella who was just out lookin’ for a little tarantella.

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This eight legged dude, with his ass in the air, was prowling with purpose and tarantula flare. In the rain he had been waiting all night, to find to girl of his dreams and do up right!

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He knew what he wanted, and he was on the right track, to his gargantuan gal with a big fuzzy rack. When he got to her place, he gave her a shout, then when he saw her, he thought, “That’s what I’m talkin’ about!” He never expected this lovely blonde beauty with 8 gorgeous eyes and a nice fuzzy booty!

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“Come on baby, let’s give it a whirl!…You are the most super, spectacular, spiderlicious girl!”

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But she just turned her back and went back down under, making him think he’s made a big blunder. What had he done?  What had gone wrong? Maybe he had come on to strong!

Or maybe, just maybe he wasn’t playin’ her song….

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So he started to sway and he started to stomp, she poked out her head and said ‘Ok, boy, I guess I’m ready to romp!

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They started to two-step then went to full eight. This wern’t just a flirtin’, it became a full date! They danced and danced…and danced… and danced. They were in a frenzy, they were totally entranced!

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And so was Todd as he captured these pics…Like a Nat Geo photographer out in the sticks! The story that went with them was one to be told…The tale of the day two tarantulas tangoed!

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Hot Chicks!…Cool Chicks!

There’s a cool new Summer night spot in Todd’s Backyard!…The party starts at 6pm, nightly at Gerti’s ‘Goody’ Garden, where Gerti (our desert tortoise) host’s a nightly event… the Chick Party! Girls only!!!

And the guests?…

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3 hot chicks, one hot dog and one ha ha hot mama 😉 With the daily temps of over 100 degrees for about the past 2-3 weeks, everyone is looking for a little cool down…which we’ve found at sundown when the shadows start to cool the yard and the sprinklers shut off on the grass. Daizy (the puggle) and I round-up the chicks and head off to Gertie’s!

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There, the smaller guests enjoy a nice veggie salad while lounging in the wet grass. I enjoy a nice glass of wine, while putting my bare feet in the wet grass…ahhhhhh. But, things can get pretty wild when the chicks finish their snack. This is when the fun and games begin! Daizy never actually eats her snack, she just likes to claim it, nibble on it a bit, then wait for her feathered friends to come after it….a great game!

And quite entertaining to watch the chicks, relentlessly chasing Daizy around until she gives it up, which in the end, she always does!

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After the games, there’s time to catch up on some gossip…

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Daizy usually likes to see if she can dig up some other friends (lizards, baby bunnies, etc.) to join the party…

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You may be asking, “where’s Gerti?” while all of this parting is going on? Gerti is pretty much a ‘legs-off’ hostess. She’d much rather hang out on the sidelines than get involved in the friendly frolicking! And she really does NOT enjoy the pecks on the cheek!  But she will do a little mingling when there’s a special guest!

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Gerti stuck her neck out to join the party when my niece Megan was here! Gerti adored her and the chicks thought Megan was pretty cool too!

Surviving Miss Daizy

She drives us crazy!…But, that’s our Miss Daizy. A puggle with a nose, that knows no bounds and a yard full of wonders with no fence that surrounds…So, guess what? This situation makes for some harrowing adventures, and sometimes, when we’re lucky, some laughable pictures!

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When the Jacktus popped out it’s ginormus blossoms, Daizy’s nose thought they were kind of awesome! Cool, too, were the bees which were flying about, until they put their stingers in her nosy snout :0

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Todd’s garden could be Daizy’s Eden…If no one was watching, she would be eatin’! But those chile’s might be a little spicy and what should come out of her other end could be quite dicey!

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Ma and the ‘girls’ think Daizy’s the shit! And she thinks likewise, especially when she can eat it!…I mean, chicken’s a great part of a dog’s daily nutrition, but chicken poop’s even better in Daizy’s opinion! Daizy would never eat these hens, because in Todd’s Backyard Dog is chicken’s best friend!

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Daizy stops at the pond when she makes her rounds, it’s peaceful, no one yells, ’cause it’s not out of bounds. The pond is a fun place to watch the fish, but this dog hates the water, so here she’ll just make a wish!

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Perhaps the most favorite of Daizy’s spaces and places is Gerti’s Garden where she can touch all the bases… Lush grass where she can lay and graze, baby buns to dig up and lizards to chase. It’s a part of the yard where there’s alot to explore and last week, there, she found something more! The strangest creature Miss Daizy had ever seen, was crawling about…was it nice?….or was it mean? Daizy crept near, with great apprehension, and when it’s head disappeared, she jumped back!…Wow! That caught her attention! So she sniffed and snuffed all around this strange shell, when the head popped back out, Gerti must have thought, “Oh, what the hell?” Gerti just kept going on her way to the grass, now attached to a dog with its nose up her ass.  I’m sure Daizy was hoping for treats like she gets from her rabbits. Just one of Daizy’s very, very bad habits!

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So, if you’re near Todd’s Backyard, you’ll likely hear, “Daizy! Daizy!… Get over here!”  Or Daizy! Daizy!…I can’t see you!”, then suddenly her little puggly face comes into view. Oh, even though our life now can be crazy, we still have to love our little Miss Daizy!

Mother Clucker!

We recently, and suddenly decided to expand Todd’s Backyard into Todd’s Backyard Farm! Thanks to our good neighbors, Pat and Tracy, we acquired a 6 month old Rhode Island Red hen. They have a large herd..(or brood…or whatever you call a bunch of chickens) one of which they kept separated because it didn’t play well with the others, (actually  I believe it was visa versa) In any case, this chicken was kept in a small cage which they wanted  eliminate because they were installing a brooder and didn’t have room. So, they were going to eat her! Of course, we couldn’t let them do that, especially since they might have brought some fresh fried chicken to our next Friday afternoon neighborhood happy hour, and that would definitely bring down my ‘happy’!

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Seriously….look at that face! And it’s not that that I have anything against eating meat/chicken….I just can’t eat an animal that I personally know!

So, with no time to lose, Todd  raced to Home Depot for lumber and chicken wire. Luckily, we had the perfect spot for a coop, under the walk-through storage area next to our shed! Todd worked his construction magic and in 2 days had built  coop fit for a chicken queen!

This is the living area… It’s a spacious 30 sq. feet, complete with perch, nesting house filled with straw and a hanging, stainless steel feeder and water dispenser. There are also wonderful floor to ceiling views of  Todd’s Backyard South!

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A door under the nesting house, leads to the outside play and party area…

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Here, we find a 25 sq. foot, reenforced and enclosed patio, complete with multilevel perches and 180 views of Todds’ Backyard North. It’s also located in the popular Javelina hangout area, so the coop residents can socialize, if so desired. (Hopefully, javelina don’t want to eat chicken!)

Pat brought the hen to her new home last weekend. She immediately took to her new living conditions!

We named her Mother Clucker, aka Ma.

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She will soon have a couple of room mates when Pat’s new batch of chicks get old enough to tell the sex….no roosters for us please! Not that we have anything against roosters, but we want eggs without ‘red eyes’! And by the way….Ma has laid an egg everyday since she’s lived here! In fact, this morning we will be having them for breakfast! Good thing that she is going to do some work for her rent! This thing cost us a small fortune! Although it’s going to take a LOT of eggs to pay this off. But, of course, we do get more than just eggs from our new, dare I say, pet…There is huge entertainment value in talking to a chicken…”Baaahck Bahck Baaaaahck?” And she talks Baaaahck to you!  The only draw baaahck I see in having a chicken…

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Uuuuughhhh! Mother Clucker!!!!

The King of Hearts

Once upon a time, there lived a dog that was so full of love, he had a heart on his head! His name was Cooper and he was a very special part of our family!

We always wanted a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.We found Cooper, eight years ago, when he was nine months old. He lived with  two very eccentric old ladies who bred and raised Cavaliers. When he joined our family, he wasn’t a tiny puppy. He had also picked up some pretty interesting habits in the first 9 months of his life!

The young prince in his normal pose

When we brought him home, he immediately took to his new family! All he needed was a soft spot to curl up. He even liked Zoe, although I’m sure he had never seen a cat before and wasn’t quite sure what to do with her!

Cooper was the perfect little puppy! Never chewed on anything, potty trained perfectly. Laid back and gentle, we could not have asked for a better dog! But he DID have one little ‘flaw’ that was a bit annoying, although funny as hell! He refused to eat out of a dog dish…I had to feed him with a fork! I kid you not!!! And he didn’t just lick the food off of the fork, like a normal dog would. He opened his mouth, closed his lips and pulled the food off of the fork. Just like a furry little human!  (I wish I had gotten pictures of that!)

It wasn’t until after we got his brother, Baily, that Cooper started eating like a normal dog. But, there was still nothing quite normal about Cooper! He had the most enormous capacity for love, patience and humor, that I have ever seen in another living creature.

One of Cooper’s greatest loves was his little brother!

Cooper and Bailey were inseparable!

Cooper and Baily both received the royal treatment!….

They got to share dinner with us on special occasions. This, however,  only lasted until we added little sister Lulu to the mix. Her ‘uncivilized’ behavior was not conducive to relaxing family meals.

Cooper and the little hellion, Lulu

The 3 ‘kids’ still had lots of fun! One of their favorite pastimes was napping together on their comfy chair…

That chair was the ‘it’ spot to hang out… it always looked like this….

When he wasn’t hanging out on his comfy chair, Cooper was hanging out on the porch.

Spending many hours on porch, lounging in the sun, he became a comfortable presence for all of the backyard wildlife!

He liked to check in on Gerti from time to time!

And even had a few civilized conversations with Jairy (the Javelina).

But quite possibly, the most extraordinary relationship Cooper developed, was the one he had with the quail… his Wootoos!

Coop enjoying a relaxing scratch ‘n’ massage from his quail friend.  (See the post, A Quail Tale, for that story!)

Cooper enjoyed life to the fullest,even though we realized several years ago that he had gone completely deaf. He always kept eye contact with us and could read lips/body language/hand signals perfectly.He was such a well behaved boy!  And as such, received  lots and lots of treats and love! He truly enjoyed the finer and simpler things in life! All he needed was a comfy chair, a bit ‘o’ sun, family and  friends, a glass of fine wine and possibly a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats OR vanilla ice cream OR even better said cereal ON vanilla icecream….Oh, and a massage from anyone who would comply….and lots of kisses!

We know that Cooper is enjoying all of this and much more in Heaven! We had to say goodbye to him last week. It has left a huge hole in our hearts and our lives. But, we can consider ourselves the luckiest family for being blessed with such a special  gift!

Long live the King!…in our hearts!

A Tortoise Adventure

Our torti girl is getting ready to hibernate…but she doesn’t like the burrow that Todd built her.

At least not for her winter hibernation. (She loved it this summer!)

Todd talked to an expert today, and he said that the desert tortoises winter burrows need to face south. Unfortunately, the wonderful summer burrow faces north….and Tortalee does not like it!  She has not been sleeping in her house with the temps staring to dip!  I found her the other morning, under a bush on the south wall of the house, groggy and grumpy.

Sooo…. we are going to embark on the construction of a  new enclosure, that’s just off the back porch, with lots of sunny southern exposure for the winter. In the mean time, TL came in the house today (through the doggy door), to make her laps around the house. I think that she may be looking for a good place to  hibernate in the house.

We have friends that keep desert tortoises and they let them hibernate in their house….in a box….in the closet! I just don’t see that happening here! But, I guess if that works, it works. But, hoping that TL will adapt to Todds Backyard (Outside the enclosed potty garden where she lives now),  I thought that I would let our little torti girl out on the porch to investigate her future home. And, she had quite the time!

One of the first things she did, was wander off of the porch and  find the pond. When she is attracted to water it usually means that she’s thirsty. So, before she plunged head first into the pond to drown, we turned the hose on the pavers and she waded and drank to her heart’s content….then made her way in the opposite direction, to explore some more!

Ohhhh! Prickly pear fruits…TL’s favorite! So, she made her way into the yard, finding all of the fallen fruit, (prickly pear). But what was really cool is that she got to discover the fruit herself, instead of being offered on a platter of  veggie delicacies. She sampled various fallen fruits as she made her way deeper into Todd’s Backyard.

But then, to our surprise, she found her way back to her favorite spot!

Tomorrow, Todd will be working on TL’s new space….It will be outside! …It will be facing South! …..And she will be sleepy, sleepy, happy, happy, there this winter!

The Torta Lisa

Our lovely tortoise girl has become one of the family. Although, we have not been able to settle on a name, ( Todd calls her Gerti, Donna calls her Daisy, Mom calles her Torti), I call her Torta Lisa. It fits, as she is beautiful and she always has this mischievous little smile!

Or perhaps she’s just pissed off!

She really shouldn’t be!…Todd’s built her a spacious tort-house with designer touches and beautiful tortoise-friendly landscaping…She seems to find it very agreeable as she is spending a lot of time there!

She has a lush yard of grass and clover for grazing. We’ve found that her very favorite treat is prickly pear fruit. Lucky for her, it’s just starting to ripen, so she will be able to get her fill, before she hibernates.

Plus, the prickly pear provide a soothing facial treatment, perfect for her delicate complexion!

She finds her way in the house about every other day, where she does laps around the kitchen and living room. Torta-L is committed to keeping in shape! Although, she sometimes finds a comfy place to take a little nap from time to time…

Her obvious vanity rears its head when she constantly flirts with her admirers as she makes her rounds!

For Baily, it’s a severe case of puppy love!

But how could anyone not love her! She may be a little vain, but she is funny, friendly and well-mannered…(Well, she did potty in the living room once!) But, luckily, her shit doesn’t stink! (Lulu obviously doesn’t think so either, since she likes to eat it!) (Gag!!!) Bad Lulu! Maybe it’s just a jealousy/girly thing?

But, we really do love having Torta (gerti-daisy-torti) Lisa as part of our family. We will miss her, for a few months, when she goes into hibernation this fall. I’ve got some great pics though, so we can gaze into her lovely face from time to time, when we are pining for her!

‘The Torta Lisa’…Classic!

Tortoise Among Us!

We’ve been talking about adopting a desert tortoise for some time. Todd’s Backyard would be the perfect home for one (there actually may be some here, but we’ve never seen them). We would also love the opportunity to expand the variety of natural desert dwellers. As fate would have it, we got our wish last night!

After a botched attempt to meet up with friends for some Saturday night socializing…(we got lost in Tucson trying to find the party…aaggrrhhh), we sadly went back home to spend the evening pouting. Todd decided to go to Arbys to get some dinner. He returned, not with the medium roast beef sandwich I had expected. But, with a rather large tortoise!

Apparently, on the way to Arbys, he found it sitting in the middle of a busy street. Since there wasn’t any natural desert around, Todd decided the best thing to do was bring it home, as it would surely get run over!

So, meet the newest member of the family….

A beautiful, 20 something year old girl (I’m pretty sure) We are thinking about calling Arby! But, we are open to suggestions!

We put her in the ‘potty garden’ (a lush, fenced in area in the backyard) equipped with all the features required desert tortoise digs…Except a burrow- Today, Todd is building one and turning the area into a ‘fairytale’ tortoise habitat for her.

For now, she is busy marching around her new yard, investigating her surroundings.  Hopefully, she will be happy here! The dogs have met her…Cooper is scared of her. Baily and Lulu are like….’whatever’. They gave her a little sniff and went about their business.

It’s going to be a learning experience, and is likely to be tortally cool adventure!