As you know, a few weeks ago our dear family pet of 24 years decided to wander off into the South Woods of Rockport while staying with a friend of ours. We were having renovations done on our Pigeon Cove home and Bill Crosby of Thatcher Road, generously offered to take in our 64 year old pet tortoise until the work was completed. September 20th was an exceptionally warm day and Bubba decided to break out of his pen to take a look around. Tortoises can move pretty quickly when they want to. He had at least a two to three hour head start before he was missed. For the next eleven days Bill, myself and my husband Geoff, family, friends, neighbors and people we do not even know searched the woods daily. Bubba is a South American Red Footed Tortoise. After living with us for nearly two and half decades, he is quite domesticated. He comes to us when he is called, follows us around the house like a puppy, eats out of our hands and is truly a member of our family.
Typically Bubba lives outside in a secure pen during the summer and moves into the family house when the days and nights get chilly. Needless to say we were very anxious to find him as the fall weather grew seasonally cooler. A multitude of compassionate people from all over Cape Ann volunteered their time searching for our well camouflaged, vagabond creature. Countless acres were covered countless times. Tiny pre-schoolers from Rainbow Day School, located down the street from where Bubba was last seen, joined in searching the school yard under the supervision of the school’s owner Wendy Hyatt and her staff. Some of the September evenings dipped near to freezing with very cool day time temperaures. Bill and Geoff hired professional dog trackers up from Connecticut to find him, but the results fell short of a happy ending.
Then on October 1st as I was leaving work, I received a call from my husband. “Guess who has come home?” I was ecstatic! It seems Geoff had gone into the woods once again calling Bubba’s name. This time however he decided to activate the door-lock alarm of his car over and over. Bubba’s home pen is near where the family cars are parked. Geoff wondered if Bubba would recognize the sound he had heard daily for nearly eight years. What happened next fell into a miraculous timing of events. Geoff left after about an hour with no sign of Bubba. A little more than an hour later Bill heard his dog Buddy barking. The handsome, black German Shepherd usually only barks when cars are coming up the dirt road to their secluded woodland home. There were no cars approaching. when Bill went outside to investigate, he saw Buddy barking at something on the hill about twenty yards from his porch. He could not believe his eyes! There was Bubba sitting on a rock in the sunlight looking down at them! He snapped a picture with his i phone, sent it to Geoff and the rest was nothing but a blissful, happy reunion!
We deeply wish to thank everyone who helped us in any way to rescue our Bubba! During the weeks he was gone we were sad and fearful for our pet. We were also hopeful that HE MIGHT FIND US! And so he did!
With appreciation and grateful hearts,
Bubba the tortoise, Barbara and the Goddard family