The pet sitter had just let Abigail out for some fresh air and exercise. But then — Judy Johnston doesn’t know why — the pet sitter went back inside. And Abigail absconded.
The two-pound African tortoise, scooted away from Johnston’s Old Sewell Road home in Marietta on Saturday.
Johnston was out of town with her partner David Clarke when they got the call from their pet sitter. Clarke thinks someone maybe picked up Abigail from the side of the road.
But for Johnston, “I don’t know what the heck happened.”
The Humane Society of Cobb County put the word out Tuesday on its Facebook page to look for the deformed tortoise.
According to the San Diego Zoo, a tortoise like Abigail can live up to 100 years and triple in length from her current seven inches.
Johnston said her 40-year-old daughter got Abigail six years ago in Colorado, with teeth marks still visible on her shell from a dog attack. The previous owners and the Petco staff thought she was a turtle and had been giving her all the wrong food.
A year ago, Abigail started acting funny.
An exotic pet veterinarian told them Abigail was actually a tortoise, Johnston said. She had such a calcium deficit that her bones hadn’t grown into her back legs.
“She was kind of pulling her back legs,” Johnston said.
Since then, Abigail had been getting the right food. Johnston was doing exercises with her to strengthen those back legs. They were due to get another X-ray.
Johnston hasn’t had the heart to tell her daughter, who is in Hawaii with family.
That’s because her daughter just watched her 17-year-old daughter die after battling an illness for 3½ years.
“Now to have this happen ... having her lose something else ... ” Johnston said before trailing off.
“I keep hoping maybe she’ll show.”
Anyone with information about Abigail is encouraged to contact the family.
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