Tortoise, Bloodhound Lifelong Friends After Series Of Events
HERRIMAN, Utah – A tortoise and a hound have been come lifelong, albeit unlikely, friends and they were there for each other when both needed help the most.
Their story was not in a children’s book, but very well could have been.
Harold was a 4-year-old Sulcata tortoise. Copper was a 10-year-old bloodhound who worked for the West Valley City Police Department for 9 years. Copper has since retired, but his stellar career involved tracking down missing people.
“Probably one of the most memorable, most high profile cases we were involved with was we found a 6-year-old that had fallen down a drainage ditch,” said Copper’s owner, Sgt. Shane Matheson. “He had been missing for 5 ½ to 6 hours before Copper and I were called out.”
Copper was used to following his nose, and on July 5, he followed it right out of an open gate at his Herriman home.
“I always say that when his nose turns on, his ears and everything else turn off,” said Matheson.
That’s when Copper became the missing one himself.
“I came out of my garage and there was a beautiful dog,” said Ashley Johnson. “I remember thinking, I think that’s a bloodhound.”
Johnson found Copper in her yard and then went to social media. She posted his information on four different pages, and soon found Copper’s owners, who lived right down the street.
“We’re definitely grateful for her and her family for keeping him safe for us,” said Matheson.
“It’s the first time I’ve lost Harold,” said Johnson. “My son kept saying, ‘Mom, where toto go?’ Where did the turtle go?”
Harold was grazing in the front yard when she wandered away. Johnson looked for the tortoise for three days, with no luck.
“I looked in everyone’s yards. I looked under every rock. I looked between boulders. I looked everywhere and could not find her,” said Johnson. “I was just devastated.”
That’s when she remembered Copper and his famous nose.
“They were missing their tortoise and they wondered about the possibility of us looking for Harold,” said Matheson.
So they put Copper on the case, despite some obstacles.
“It had been over two days that she was missing and it had rained four or five times in between,” said Johnson.
Copper led them straight to Harold, burrowed in a neighbor’s flower patch.
“She was hiding next to our neighbor’s retaining wall,” said Johnson. “If tortoises want to hide and if they don’t want to be found, they won’t be found.”
It was very happy ending for both the tortoise and the hound not to mention the Mathesons and Johnsons.
“It was just meant to be,” said Johnson. “We were meant to meet Copper and he helped us find our pet.”
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