had turtles as pets off and on for over forty combined years. It began
when I was a boy. It began one Sunday when we were starting out on a long
drive to visit relatives, back in the days before super highways. My father
pulled over and sent my brother back to pick up a turtle. It was a wood
turtle that became my pet. I named him Tuffy because I could hardly constrain
him in the car that day.
Tuffy had a memorable
way of being "my turtle". If anyone else picked up Tuffy, he would urinate
all over them. My friends knew this. They liked to suggest to new kids
to pick up the turtle. They would hold Tuffy with two hands like they were
eating a sandwich. Boy could that turtle shoot a stream. But Tuffy never
urinated on me, ever! My young age did not matter to Tuffy.
As a boy I had Tuffy,
box turtles, painted turtles, and snapping turtles. I released them before
entering the military.
While in college
I married. A week after getting married, my wife and I found a baby snapping
turtle we named Turtle. You may have read about him elsewhere on this web
site and how we abandoned him eight years later. I thought we would be
releasing him, but he had no desire to be released. We had to abandon him
in a river. That really sticks with me. I will never forget him sitting
there in the water looking up at us, his family, as we said good-by.
Over the years we
had to relocate several times. Most turtles were released usually where
we found them. It always seemed right at the time. Then about ten years
ago we relocated to our present home. We brought five turtles with us;
one of them had moved with us before. It was that move and the bonding
that followed that started my growing involvement with turtles that lead
to the creation of TurtleTails.com.
While I am the photographer,
writer, and programer, I have help. I have a staff of dedicated hard shelled
companions. You have met most of them on TurtleTails.com. That is
the "we" I like to use when writing. After all TurtleTails.com is
about them not me.
At times I believe
my turtles actually read my mind. Numerous times I drafted a new tour only
to be corrected by them. That may sound quaint, but we do communicate with
each other. I try to be a good listener. I could not bring you TurtleTails.com
Thomas R. Schucker