Animals Grieve, Too

Joyce’s mother Joan acquired Frank the tortoise in 1968 from a neighborhood pet store. She named him after her favorite performer, Frank Sinatra. But Tortoise Frank was restless and wouldn’t stay put in his yard. He’d dig his way into the neighbors’ yards or manage to get out through the front gate onto the sidewalk until someone called to let Joyce and her mom know. This went on for a while until Joan attended a local Turtle and Tortoise Society meeting and someone suggested she get Frank a mate.

So Nancy arrived, (named after the first Mrs. Sinatra), and Frank stopped his wandering. For 50 years! These two were devoted to each other.

But several weeks ago, Nancy died. Frank was inconsolable and began his wandering again, up and down the yard, looking for Nancy. He was grieving. Her leaving was hard on Frank, hard on Joan and hard on Joyce. So they called an animal communicator who calmed Frank down.

Did you know that tortoises are calmer and happier if they have a mate?

Nancy and Frank

Frank has now gone into hibernation for this season, so he’ll be fine. Perhaps he’ll find another female tortoise to hang out with. He’s a mere 94 years old now, so who knows?