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After 56 years, this Woman Still Lives with Gopher Tortoise she Received on her 10th Birthday

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A lot of people consider pets as part of their family because these little creatures are a really great source of bliss and entertainment.

In many cases, pet owners believe that having a pet can do more than just make them happy as it can also improve their health physically and mentally by reducing stress levels, sense of loneliness and help them to increase their social and physical activities.



Unfortunately, these pets have an average lifespan and most of them could only live for several years.

But for this Milwaukee woman in her mid-sixties, she is very lucky to still live with the pet tortoise that she received when she was just 10 years old.

Jeanna Smith received a baby gopher tortoise as a birthday gift from her father in 1962.

“He’s been with us quite a while now…. George is probably my oldest friend…. He traveled everywhere we went,” Jeanna shared in an interview with KARE 11.

Since that day, Jeanna and the tortoise were inseparable. The little girl really loved the gopher tortoise, and she decided to name him George.

When she was in college, Jeanna brought him in her dorm, despite the rule that students are not allowed to bring their pets at school.

She said: “I went to college and George came with me. And George lived in my dorm room.”



After that, Jeanna met her future husband, Kirby Smith, and they began dating. Jeanna introduced him to George, who became part of his life as well. From that moment, Kirby knew that Jeanna and George came as a package deal; and that the two can never be separated!

In his long life, George managed to escape his backyard three times. He first ran away in 1980, where his whole family searched all over their place just to find him.

“The whole family was looking for George,” she recalled.

Luckily, George was found by Jeanna’s daughter who was just a child at the time.

“My daughter found him while the camera was rolling,” she said.

Gopher tortoises can live from 40 to 60 years, while in captivity, their lifespan has been said to stretch for over 100 years, but Jeanna has it covered.



Now at 66, Jeanna already arranged everything for George. In fact, when she created her last will and testament, it was written that he will stay with her daughter, who now has her own family.

“I have one daughter and she has three children. When I go, then George will go and live with them.”Jeanna said.

“I just love him. All these years,” she added.

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