Compassion for tortoises compared to mammals

ZEROPILOT

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I take every animal that I'm in care for very seriously. Each receives as much care, medical attention and quality of life that I'm capable of.
I have a deep feeling of responsibility for each living thing that counts on me for its survival. And I spare no expense in their care.
However, only mammals have risen to the level of what I would call love. And not all of them.
One bird and two dogs in recent years.
These are and have been animals that I love and miss dearly when they are gone. Like a beloved friend.
With my lizards and fishes I'm upset when they pass. But as long as I know I did right by them, I'm not terribly upset.
I get over it quickly.
I've only ever had one tortoise die. And it was one I'd only had for 3 days. Again. No giant deal.
How emotionally attached are you with your tortoise or turtle?
Are you capable of feeling love for an animal that doesn't instinctively seek it? And return it?
Curious.
 

wellington

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I had two marine fish for years, I can't remember off hand how long. The one was a maroon clown the other a dog face puffer. The puffer had the perfect name. I could pet him and he was always excited to see me. I cried when I lost them. I have cried over my long time bird, cats, dogs, and I would cry over my tortoises. I truly love them.
 

Armadillogroomer

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I'm glad you brought this up because I have things I want to get off of my chest in a place where I feel like people understand.

I'm one of those humans that will pack-bond with anything. I wouldn't say I love my car, but I'm very attached to it and do everything I can to take care of it. It's the same with my tort. Originally I was feeling very guilty about rehoming my redfoot, it took me days to make that post (she's now spoken for by a member I trust). I've had time to balance logic with emotion since then. The difference is that I don't feel guilty thinking about getting another tortoise(s) when I'm settled in my new home. It doesn't feel the same/as traitorous/cruel as when someone buys a puppy, gets rid of it, then buys another. As long as the tortoise is cared for, my conscience is clean. So I guess I'm struggling over whether I'm supposed to feel guilty or not?

It'd definitely eat me alive if I were doing the same thing to my guinea pig. He's old, has weird health issues, hasn't been able to peacefully live with another piggy since his brother was euthanized, and he was the only one excited to see me back after a long trip. Even if he's not too bright or cuddly, it's obvious that he has some sort of attachment or at least prefers my care, so I'll do my best to accommodate him on this journey. I feel bad that he will have to stay in a smaller cage for a bit, but I think he'll be more understanding/forgiving than a reptile with very specific needs.

@wellington Puffers are absolutely precious. I'd probably be very attached to those if I owned them too!
 

wellington

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I'm glad you brought this up because I have things I want to get off of my chest in a place where I feel like people understand.

I'm one of those humans that will pack-bond with anything. I wouldn't say I love my car, but I'm very attached to it and do everything I can to take care of it. It's the same with my tort. Originally I was feeling very guilty about rehoming my redfoot, it took me days to make that post (she's now spoken for by a member I trust). I've had time to balance logic with emotion since then. The difference is that I don't feel guilty thinking about getting another tortoise(s) when I'm settled in my new home. It doesn't feel the same/as traitorous/cruel as when someone buys a puppy, gets rid of it, then buys another. As long as the tortoise is cared for, my conscience is clean. So I guess I'm struggling over whether I'm supposed to feel guilty or not?

It'd definitely eat me alive if I were doing the same thing to my guinea pig. He's old, has weird health issues, hasn't been able to peacefully live with another piggy since his brother was euthanized, and he was the only one excited to see me back after a long trip. Even if he's not too bright or cuddly, it's obvious that he has some sort of attachment or at least prefers my care, so I'll do my best to accommodate him on this journey. I feel bad that he will have to stay in a smaller cage for a bit, but I think he'll be more understanding/forgiving than a reptile with very specific needs.

@wellington Puffers are absolutely precious. I'd probably be very attached to those if I owned them too!
I don't think you should feel guilty. You did what you had to do too find him a good home. Now, if you just put him down, like a lot of people do with cats and dogs just because they don't want them any more or can't afford medical care, when there are places and people that can help, then you should feel guilty.
 

harrythetortoise

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I take every animal that I'm in care for very seriously. Each receives as much care, medical attention and quality of life that I'm capable of.
I have a deep feeling of responsibility for each living thing that counts on me for its survival. And I spare no expense in their care.
However, only mammals have risen to the level of what I would call love. And not all of them.
One bird and two dogs in recent years.
These are and have been animals that I love and miss dearly when they are gone. Like a beloved friend.
With my lizards and fishes I'm upset when they pass. But as long as I know I did right by them, I'm not terribly upset.
I get over it quickly.
I've only ever had one tortoise die. And it was one I'd only had for 3 days. Again. No giant deal.
How emotionally attached are you with your tortoise or turtle?
Are you capable of feeling love for an animal that doesn't instinctively seek it? And return it?
Curious.
I think I am very much attached to my tortoise, and I've only had him/her for about 6 months. He is the first thing I check when I come back from work, and I talk to him in the morning when I soak him.
I've become a fan of all tortoises after I adopted Harry, and I think all of them are so cute and precious.
I've also become a fan of all things Mediterranean and I started eating more Mediterranean stuff.
My friends and coworkers think I'm crazy.
 

ZEROPILOT

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I'm glad you brought this up because I have things I want to get off of my chest in a place where I feel like people understand.

I'm one of those humans that will pack-bond with anything. I wouldn't say I love my car, but I'm very attached to it and do everything I can to take care of it. It's the same with my tort. Originally I was feeling very guilty about rehoming my redfoot, it took me days to make that post (she's now spoken for by a member I trust). I've had time to balance logic with emotion since then. The difference is that I don't feel guilty thinking about getting another tortoise(s) when I'm settled in my new home. It doesn't feel the same/as traitorous/cruel as when someone buys a puppy, gets rid of it, then buys another. As long as the tortoise is cared for, my conscience is clean. So I guess I'm struggling over whether I'm supposed to feel guilty or not?

It'd definitely eat me alive if I were doing the same thing to my guinea pig. He's old, has weird health issues, hasn't been able to peacefully live with another piggy since his brother was euthanized, and he was the only one excited to see me back after a long trip. Even if he's not too bright or cuddly, it's obvious that he has some sort of attachment or at least prefers my care, so I'll do my best to accommodate him on this journey. I feel bad that he will have to stay in a smaller cage for a bit, but I think he'll be more understanding/forgiving than a reptile with very specific needs.

@wellington Puffers are absolutely precious. I'd probably be very attached to those if I owned them too!
I like your car comparison. And I think you may have hit the nail on the head.
My cars receive the very best care. Best fluids, correct and timely maintenance, etc. And that is probably about how I view my reptiles.
They need for nothing. Live forever and I'm always thinking about them. But it's my dog that greets me at the door going crazy and running around in circles until I pick her up. She needs me.
The reptiles need....Someone.
Doesn't need to be me. They're just as happy when my neighbor stops by to feed them.
My dog, however will literally howl until I return and refuse food or water. And is only loyal to me.
I think you've articulated my feeling pretty well.
So far, my experience with loving another animal has been limited to the cuddly kind.
Everytime I do something like spend a grand on a sickly $200 tortoise, I hear "He sure loves his animals". And I agree.
Then I'll read a post about someone with true affection for theirs. And I feel like I'm missing something.
I'm just being responsible.
 

MarginatedMooney

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I would say I have an attachment to my little 4 month old tort. It's a stronger attachment than I realized it would be prior to getting him but I wouldn't call it love. It's like the car analogy if you were emotionally attached to your car along with wanting what's best for it. My wife has a stronger attachment than I do and she would probably say that she loves him.

My parents have always had dogs. I don't have love for our tort the way I did for the dogs we had when I was growing up. I think it's mostly because dogs are always visibly happy to see you, are loyal companions, and have some capacity to reciprocate love. It was devastating any time we would lose a dog. I don't know how I would feel if I lost my tort but I don't think it would be as bad as losing a dog.

I've also had a guinea pig and gerbils in the past and they were probably on a similar attachment level as my tort is now. I was attached to them and wanted what was best for them but it wasn't quite love that I felt for them. It was really sad when I lost them but I wasn't devastated like I was when we lost dogs. I knew that they were well taken care of and lived good lives and that seemed to be what mattered most to me with them.
 

Anna Westphal

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I also have strong attachments to my dogs, but I feel like my tortoise has an equal spot in my heart. It's definitely a different relationship and feels very one sided ( no tail wags or so happy to see you indicators from the tort ), but I would be just as devastated if something happened to Stella as I would for my fur babies. There is something very primal about tortoises that gets to me and makes me love them as a species.
 

Cathie G

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I really do love my tortoise. If I have a nightmare it's about him. I can't find him or someone's trying to hand me another one but it's not him. But the truth is if I felt it was best for him to be in another home I'd do it. And not feel a bit guilty. Because actually real love for an animal is taking the best care that you can for them. Love is action not a bunch of syrupy sweet feelings.💙
 

ZEROPILOT

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I really do love my tortoise. If I have a nightmare it's about him. I can't find him or someone's trying to hand me another one but it's not him. But the truth is if I felt it was best for him to be in another home I'd do it. And not feel a bit guilty. Because actually real love for an animal is taking the best care that you can for them. Love is action not a bunch of syrupy sweet feelings.💙
I think it's both
 

Redfool

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I feel more awestruck than love or compassion for my redfoots. The way they move with determination but not speed, their demeanor that dominates their pen. Sort of like elephants and rhinos but in a manageable size. They show me a peacefulness in their pace of a long life span. I think it’s more of a deep deep respect for them.
 

zolasmum

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I Have never had a dog - or even a child, for that matter, - but I don't think anything could be more comforting and heartwarming than seeing Zola's eager little face as he runs towards me as soon as he hears or sees me - he often lies in wait in his hide, for me to appear. And it isn't that he is hoping for food - he behaves just the same even if he is in the middle of eating when catches sight of me !
Angie
 

Cathie G

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I think it's both
Yes🤗 but sometimes I wait long periods for little gifts from him. When he does some thing that lets me know he trusts me, or something that makes me laugh it cheers me up. Usually it's just when I need it too. I think they like the everyday same old thing routine.
 

ZEROPILOT

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Yes🤗 but sometimes I wait long periods for little gifts from him. When he does some thing that lets me know he trusts me, or something that makes me laugh it cheers me up. Usually it's just when I need it too. I think they like the everyday same old thing routine.
See?
That's different.
My largest, oldest and favorite RF clearly hates me.
Her only thought is "Get out of my pen!"
 

Jan A

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I Have never had a dog - or even a child, for that matter, - but I don't think anything could be more comforting and heartwarming than seeing Zola's eager little face as he runs towards me as soon as he hears or sees me - he often lies in wait in his hide, for me to appear. And it isn't that he is hoping for food - he behaves just the same even if he is in the middle of eating when catches sight of me !
Angie
You two have a rare bond that is awe-inspiring. I happen to believe these "little" events are miracles, if only we pay attention, & you most certainly do, Angie. You & Zola rock!!
 

zolasmum

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You two have a rare bond that is awe-inspiring. I happen to believe these "little" events are miracles, if only we pay attention, & you most certainly do, Angie. You & Zola rock!!
Thank you Jan for your kind words, but I also should mention Zola's dad Richard, who carries him all over the place in one hand, and who has a great skill in interpreting his little movements - he knows how to adjust Zola's position to exactly what he wants at that moment.Zola has trained us well !!Angie
 

Jan A

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Thank you Jan for your kind words, but I also should mention Zola's dad Richard, who carries him all over the place in one hand, and who has a great skill in interpreting his little movements - he knows how to adjust Zola's position to exactly what he wants at that moment.Zola has trained us well !!Angie
Ok, Richard, you rock 2!!
 
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