-- Tortoises are known for being slow creatures, but one in Texas has great incentive for speeding it up: a fun game of chase with its canine best friend.
Sheldon, the 8-year-old Sulcata tortoise, and Dolly, his American Pit Bull terrier best friend, were both adopted from the Humane Society of North Texas in Forth Worth by a veterinarian who works there and fell in love with both animals.
According to Whitney Hanson, the director of development and communications for the nonprofit organization, Sheldon, a male, loves playing chase with Dolly, a female.
“He’ll chase after her, she runs away and they do this for hours on end and apparently she’s been trying to get Sheldon to get interested in her favorite red ball but so far he has very little interest in it so he won’t play fetch with her but he will play chase with her,” Hanson told ABC News on Tuesday.
The animals’ owner, Dr. Cynthia Jones, was in surgery and unavailable for immediate comment, but Hanson said the veterinarian had actually adopted Dolly to befriend another dog of hers -- a Labrador Retriever named Daisy. While the two dogs are good friends, Dolly and Sheldon were the ones who really hit it off, Hanson said.
“Daisy’s not really interested in playing chase with Sheldon and Sheldon knows that, so as soon as the dogs come outside he makes a beeline straight for Dolly …,” Hanson said.
Video posted on YouTube on Feb. 24 shows Sheldon chasing after Dolly on grass in their yard. Dolly runs, pauses, and then Sheldon does a quick walk -- moving surprisingly fast for a tortoise, closes in on Dolly and then do it all over again. The video had been viewed more than 125,000 times as of Tuesday evening.
One YouTube viewer expressed admiration for the tortoise’s speed, writing: “That tortoise can really boogie!”
The humane society handles 25,000 animals of all sizes and types every year, including dogs, horses, chickens, rabbits and sheep and reptiles, and Hanson said she hopes the video opens people’s minds about adoption “and helps them to realize that there are so many different kinds of animals available for adoption … and that rescue animals make great pets.”
She also hoped people realized that “animals of different species can fall in love just like these two. You’d never expect it but they’re as cute as can be.”