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Anthr Dog Story (Why tortoises & dogs DO NOT MIX. No exceptions!)

Discussion in 'General Tortoise Discussion' started by Tom, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. Tom

    Tom Active Member

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    My best friend has a group of russians. One male, three females. He and I have similar backgrounds and interest in reptiles. We experienced the big boom of reptile popularity together in the early 90's. We have a habit of swapping reptiles back and forth. We had a water monitor that we shared and a pair of dog tame amethystine pythons, recently some bearded dragons and a couple of snakes had an extended visit with me... you get the idea. Well he got married and had kids before I did and when his first son was a few years old, "Uncle Tom", bought him a hatchling russian at a reptile show that we all attended together. His son named the tortoise Horace. That was around 8 years ago. As Horace grew and thrived, my friend added a young CB female. As Horace reached maturity he predictably got aggressive with his female and so my buddy added a couple more females to make a nice group. He built a large outdoor pen and his tortoises have done very well living outdoors for him in the warm dry CA air. Recently he bought a new house with a huge backyard and moved his adult tortoise group into a large new outdoor pen with lots of nooks and crannies and hidey holes. Horace, and his hopefully upcoming offspring, were intended to be in our family for many generations...

    My friend's wife's Uncle Joe (not his real name) has been having some health issues and has not been able to get out with his dog as often as he'd like. He asked if he could turn his dog loose in the big backyard for some exercise. The dog was a medium sized mutt, very well trained, well behaved, great with the kids, great with all people, and he had been to the house many times before. The dog never showed any interest in the tortoises or their pen way over on the far side of the yard and was not "critter crazy", in any way. The uncle is a good man. I know him and his family well. He understood about the tortoises, knew about them and agreed that the dog would never be left unsupervised in the backyard and that he would remain with the dog at all times. He had been over with the dog several times without incident. The dog NEVER showed any interest whatsoever in the tortoises or their pen. All went well on the current visit and uncle Joe sat in the backyard with his dog while it exercised and played. The time came to leave and Uncle Joe stepped into the house to say his goodbyes. Goodbye turned into a conversation and conversation turned into a discussion. We've all done this, I'm sure. Mind you, all of the people involved are intelligent, thoughtful, decent people. We are not talking about apethetic people who don't know any better, or don't care.

    My buddy came home from work, greeted the family, and went to his room to change out of his work clothes. Outside the bedroom window he could see uncle Joe's dog chewing on something. Never even thinking of the tortoises, he went outside to see what the dog had found... To his shock and horror the dog was gnawing on, and removing pieces from one of the adult female russians. She was still alive while the dog worked on her, but she was too far gone to be saved. To his further shock and horror, Horace was in many pieces just a few feet away. Horace and his female are dead. Gone forever. They will not be bringing joy to our families any longer. This tortoise was to grow up with my nephew and still be his companion when they were both old men. Just a few minutes of inattention is all it took. Done. I am shocked, horrified, angry, sad, and rapidly approaching numb from thinking about it.

    This is not about temperament or training. It is simply a dog's natural instincts. Any dog, any breed, any time, any level of training. I am a professional dog trainer. My dogs are the best trained dogs in the entire country and I have the National trophies to prove it. I allow my dogs around all of my tortoises of all species and sizes frequently, but NEVER, unsupervised. Please believe me when I say:

    DOGS AND TORTOISES SHOULD NEVER NEVER NEVER BE LEFT ALONE TOGETHER!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Not for a minute, not for one second. Not while you go to the bathroom. Not while you quickly answer the phone. Not while you check on the kids. Not while you bid farewell to beloved family members for the evening... Everyone makes mistakes, but some things should just NOT be left to chance.

    This one hit very close to home with me, but I have seen it many times. Blood on the dog and adults hands, tears on the children's faces... Spread the word people. Don't let this happen!
  2. Zamric

    Zamric Active Member

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    RE: Another Dog Story

    This story saddens me! Sorry for your loss!

    I have the same issue only backwards.... WalkingRock is 10 times larger (by weight) than my dog and has been known to charge him and even nip at his tail and hind quarters. Since Surge is deaf and going blind, WalkingRock must constantly be supervised so he doesn't injur Surge. These 2 species (dogs and tortoises) just don't get along well!
  3. wellington

    wellington Active Member Staff Member

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    RE: Another Dog Story

    Tom,
    I am so, so sorry for all of you and your loss. That is just so sad and horrifying. Some mistakes last a life time and just can't happen. This is such a sad lesson. I hope everyone who thinks "not my dog" will learn from this and realize, that no matter what, these two species are NEVER to be left alone together! EVERY dog has something that will make them do, what comes natural, whether, run, attack, fight, etc, every dog has something that will make it forget it's been trained.
    Again, so sorry:(
  4. JoesMum

    JoesMum Active Member

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    RE: Another Dog Story

    Oh Tom... That is awful... I am so sorry :(
  5. reticguy76

    reticguy76 Member

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    RE: Another Dog Story

    very nice post. being in emergency veterinary medicine and special interest in emergency exotics medicine, we see dog attacked tortoises all the time and its unfortunate and happens usually within 1-5 minutes of unsupervised ability to interact.
    as stated, fact is, dogs will and still do resort to natural instinct with most any situation. just the way it is.
  6. dmmj

    dmmj Active Member Staff Member

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    RE: Another Dog Story

    What a sad story, we have had 2 recent examples now of dogs and tortoises.
  7. Kerryann

    Kerryann Active Member

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    RE: Another Dog Story

    I am really sorry for your loss. :( I am glad that I read a story like this when I first came to TFO because I would have known to not let my schnauzer near my tortoises but would never have worried about my lab. I hope people see and heed the advice. As hard as it must be, I appreciate the sharing of this story.
  8. Mordy

    Mordy New Member

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    RE: Another Dog Story

    sorry for your loss :(


  9. tweeter

    tweeter New Member

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    RE: Another Dog Story

    I'm so very sorry. How horribe for everyone involved....and what a good reminder to all of us with dogs.
  10. TuRtLE1924

    TuRtLE1924 Member

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    RE: Another Dog Story

    This is absolutely horrible. I know what it is like to lose a beloved creature that is part of the family. I am so very sorry for your loss and hope that in time you and your family may heal from this ordeal.
    Thank you so much for sharing your story, I know how hard it must have been to share this. As someone who is researching and will be getting my own tortoise soon I take heed to the knowledge you have provided us with today.
    Again, I am so sorry for your loss.
  11. Momof4

    Momof4 Active Member

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    RE: Another Dog Story

    Tom, I can feel your pain in your writing. I'm so so sorry this happened.
  12. Nay

    Nay New Member

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    RE: Another Dog Story

    Tom,
    It was good of you to write that story, as hard as it is. You also kept it very dignified and respectful, which I respect you a great deal for. We all, or at least many of us, have stories that we could share, but sometimes it is hard to keep the bitter emotions out of it. We all are able to feel your horror at this great injustice, without awful expletives at how much you want to hurt someone.
    It was, is ,a horrible thing when a pet gets hurt because of something that could have easily been prevented.
    If your sad story hits just one person who may not have believed it could happen, then it was worth putting down.
    It's just so sad and I have that sick feeling in my gut. I'm sorry.
    Nay
  13. N2TORTS

    N2TORTS Well-Known Member

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    RE: Another Dog Story

    "The dog was a medium sized mutt"........Darn Hybrids!:p



    Your right Tom Dogs and Torts do not mix ......

    :D
  14. *Barracuda_50*

    *Barracuda_50* New Member

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    RE: Another Dog Story

    Very sorry for the loss :(:( and yes i to agree dogs and torts or dogs with other reptiles should never be left alone together, dogs can and will do alot of damage, it is the prey drive they all have even if there very sweet loving mans best friend they do have a natural instinct to investage and maul/play with, things they shouldnt.. That is very sad Tom and very sorry for the loss..
  15. Katherine

    Katherine Member

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    RE: Another Dog Story

    What a tragedy. So sorry to read this. Hopefully having shared this story will spare someone else from making the same mistake.
  16. Laura

    Laura Active Member

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    RE: Another Dog Story

    ANother dog story.. I thought Oh goodie, Tom has a neat job he is telling us about... NOT!!!
    crap... that sucks BIG TIME!!!
    This goes for letting your torts runn the yard with out a penn also.. **** Happens.. Dont take the chance.. I hope others learn from this...
    so sorry..
  17. dmarcus

    dmarcus New Member

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    RE: Another Dog Story (Why tortoises and dogs DO NOT MIX. No exceptions!)

    Such sad news to hear. I just recently had to dig a trench along the fence line that separates my yard and my neighbors yard and filled it with concrete, because their dogs were constantly trying to dig under the fence to get into my yard. Like what has been said, dogs will do what comes natural no matter how trained they are.
  18. Eweezyfosheezy

    Eweezyfosheezy New Member

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    RE: Another Dog Story (Why tortoises and dogs DO NOT MIX. No exceptions!)

    I'm sorry for your loss Tom. I have had almost the exact same thing happen to me as well.
  19. lynnedit

    lynnedit Active Member

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    RE: Another Dog Story (Why tortoises and dogs DO NOT MIX. No exceptions!)

    How horrible for your friend. He was trying to do someone a favor, and it will affect him forever.
    Even well trained dogs are only that when their owners are around.
    A very, very good reminder for us all...
  20. Angi

    Angi New Member

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    RE: Another Dog Story (Why tortoises and dogs DO NOT MIX. No exceptions!)

    I feel so sad for you and your poor nephew. What a sad sad story :( I am sorry this happend to those poor little torts.
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