SHERWOOD, Ark. (KTHV) - A family's tortoise who disappeared last summer is finally returned home.
A beloved pet, missing for months. It's a story you don't see every day.
Tom was happily making his way around the backyard Wednesday, as you'd expect most pets to do if they'd been gone for almost a year!
Tom lives in a lush Sherwood backyard, but for the past year, he's been finding out whether the grass is greener on the other side.
"Poor baby. A lot of things could have befallen him," says his owner/mom Susan Reedy.
She is one relieved mama Wednesday afternoon. Just less than a day after she was reunited with her 90-year- old tortoise.
"Lettuce, grapes, bananas are his staple" says Reedy, smiling.
Susan's brother found the young tortoise in Texas back in 1962, and he's been with Susan's family ever since. Until one hot day last summer.
"Tom went missing." says Reedy.
Susan calls it the "great escape" The 20-pound tortoise made his escape through a hole in Susan's fence last August. How Tom escaped was obvious, but information about where he went to came in very slowly.
When he vanished, Reedy spread the word to neighbors, friends and officials, but nothing came up.
"Until I got a call from my neighbor, Butch, who had been down at Sherwood Animal Shelter and said they had received a call that someone had found a tortoise. And you can't have too many tortoises in Arkansas!"
It was a team effort and everyone was at the right place at the right time.
"I do rescue. Not typically tortoises! But dogs and cats," says rescue team member Brandy Buie.
Dog, cat, or...tortoise, Buie says this is a perfect example of what to do. Spread the word.
"If you find an animal, post up fliers that you found it, you know? Keep that animal with you or take it to your local shelter, because more than likely someone's looking for it."
Reedy isn't sure of Tom's exact route, but knows he was seen in a North Little Rock neighborhood and that he was picked up in Cabot. That's a twenty-mile trek!
"He's had quite an adventure and it would be interesting to know, ya know, if we could do turtle speak, or tortoise speak, what his adventures all were but, " says Susan.
This tortoise is quite the traveler, making regular visits to schools, nursing homes and colleges. Susan describes Tom's personality as a one-sided relationship.
Buie says this is a good reminder about the idea of microchipping your pets. In fact, Reedy says once they get settled down she plans to get Tom microchipped so this doesn't happen again.