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Pet Tortoise Finds Its Way Home

Shellby the tortoise is safe at home.

After searching for four days, South Salem resident and veterinarian Dr. Carol Gamez and her family found their beloved pet Saturday right in their own backyard.

“My husband, with some help from our dog, found him,” Gamez said.

Gamez, who has a veterinarian practice in Georgetown, Conn., adopted the Russian tortoise several years ago after it was brought in as a rescued animal. The tortoise was in dire condition at the time, suffering from pneumonia and malnutrition. Gamez helped nurse it back to health, a process that included inserting a feeding tube, and named it Shellby. Her husband created a special garden for Shellby in the family’s South Salem backyard, complete with edible plants and weeds.

However, on June 1, Shellby disappeared. Fliers were placed around the South Salem area offering a $50 reward for the pet tortoise’s safe return.

“My husband was working outside last Saturday when he said he would take another look around [for Shellby],” she said. “It was like looking for a needle in a haystack because we have an acre of property.”

Her husband noticed that the dog was rooting around the bushes and when he went to investigate, he realized the dog had found Shellby.

“He shouted loud enough for the neighbors to hear,” she said. “I guess she went on a little vacation for a few days, but we are really happy to have her back.”

Gamez said her husband would not be eligible for the reward.

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