5/23/10

the Story of Buttercup the Turtle

{vintage childrens book illustration from my collection}

2 years ago, I rescued a turtle in distress. This is the story of Buttercup.

May 2008: I witnessed 2 teenage boys kicking what I thought was a ball on the trail near my house, whist on my way to work. As I neared the ball, I soon realized it was not a ball at all. It was a turtle!
I welled up with anger & sadness. I was so focused on the turtle, though, that by the time I thought to karate chop the kids who did it, they were out of sight.
I was able to gently & safely move the turtle into a more secure place until I could call the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre people to find out what to do. I was told to bring it into a veterinarian that is their on-call turtle surgeon. I then went with a container and gently put the poor turtle in it to bring to the vet. The turtle was so lethargic, I was quite worried. She was swinging her head about in an odd way, too. Her shell was cracked quite badly. Lucky for me, though, she was so stressed she didn't think to snap at me. She was a good sized Snapper!
I got her to the vet, and Dr. Kristy Hiltz was the turtle rescuer de jour. I was told it looked like the turtle had more than just a kick to deal with. That it was obvious she was also run over at some point. That she was in shock, but that they thought she would make a full recovery. (incidentally, I ended up switching to Dr Hiltz sometime later because I was so impressed with her work & care)

May 2009: A year later, I got a call from the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre peeps that a turtle I rescued a year previously was fully recovered and to be released - and would I like to attend the release?
Yes, please!
This is when I found out they named her Buttercup, after my shop (that I had owned at that time - Buttercup & Co.). And that she was a girl. Obviously, I had no way of telling the sex of a turtle - and still don't know how!
Buttercup was released in the same area as I found her in. It was a joyous occasion!

Here is her release party:


Buttercup, I was told, was the feistiest of all their releases! She was out of the bin before we even opened the trunk of the car!


Buttercup was inching her way out of the bin into the grasses.


It took no time at all for Buttercup to make a beeline for the water!


I could imagine the sigh of relief at this point.


And off she went!


But then, Buttercup turned around and smiled at us.
I will never forget that moment.

A year later, and I still keep a look out for Buttercup. She's easy to recognize, due to the big scar she has on her shell. I've decided she found a mate and has had many babies since I last saw her. That she bobs her head out of the water to smile at passerbys.

I've been working on retelling her story in a childrens book - I hope to actually fulfill this dream sometime in the next year. I'll keep you posted about it!

Happy World Turtle Day!
~buttercup caren

4 comments:

  1. What a wonderful story! I am sure that Buttercup also keeps a look out for you so that she can smile and send you a little turtle wink and thank you for the chance to start anew and have her own little buttercups!

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  2. Nice work! My wife and I spent the winter looking after Buttercup. It was very exciting when she finally stopped waving her head upside down and started acting like a happy snapper!

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  3. homespun - oh, how I love the idea of her winking my way! :)

    mr & mrs anonymous - So happy to hear from those who cared for Buttercup! You are superheroes! Thank you so much for being a part of Buttercup's success story.

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hello! Thank you for taking the time to say a little something; I do appreciate reading your thoughts & ideas. ♥