Meanwhile in Nature: 70-Pound Disabled Tortoise Cruising on Custom Wheelchair Has That Post-Covid Vibe We’re After

You’ve gotta love stories where the little guy triumphs. Although in this case, the “little guy” is a 70-pound tortoise.

His name is George Bailey and he was rescued from an exotic animal facility in Knoxville, Tennessee by a woman named by Jaime Loebener. George was born with a metabolic bone disease, so he doesn’t have fully-formed back legs. Instead of walking, he drags himself around – or he did, until a New Hampshire-based pet mobility company called Walkin’ Pets created a custom wheelchair for him.

“He uses his front legs to pull his way around slowly and clumsily. The bigger he’s gotten, the more difficult this has been for him,” Loebener was quoted as saying in a Walkin’ Pets press release.

George is 11 years old, which might sound old for an animal, but in fact Sulcata tortoises like him can live up to 100 years – and continue to grow during that time. He could eventually tip the scales at over 200 pounds.

That’s why Loebener started researching how to get George mobile again. She heard how Walkin’ Pets had made a wheelchair for a smaller tortoise in the past, so she reached out to the company – and was overjoyed when it agreed to create an adjustable contraption just for him.

It didn’t take George long to get the hang of walking in a wheelchair. By all accounts, he took to it immediately and has been tooling around like a brand-new tortoise. Just look at him go!

In a sense, we are all George the tortoise, learning how to use our legs and get around again post-pandemic (aka the longest period of inactivity and depression most of us have ever known). It seems we all have something to “shell-ebrate” right alongside George.

Cover Photo: Walkin’ Pets

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