Turtle Fear and the Reluctant Animal Rescue

The Fourth of July. 2010.

It was mid-afternoon, so the streets weren’t super jammed yet, but they would be soon.

I was doing a couple things around my apartment, just cleaning up, and I grabbed the full bag of garbage in my hands to take it out to the back alley. I slipped on my shoes and walked down the front steps to walk through the narrow walkway between my house and the house next to mine. As I’m heading back to the alley, I look down to realize that I was almost about to step on a turtle. A gross, ugly, foreign turtle. I screamed like a little girl, and I turned around and retreated back inside, garbage still in my hand.

guest post blog Traveling Marla South Africa move
This is a soft shell turtle. It’s like somebody slapped a pancake on a four-legged snake. {shivers}

I had to watch the action from the window. I needed to get to the alley but this monster was blocking my way. Oh, gross. I could see it walking as it does. It was slimy and disgusting, with a really long neck and a soft, jiggly shell that kinda moved when it walked, almost like Jell-O. Eww. Clearly, this turtle wasn’t indigenous to Pennsylvania, but some asshole had dropped it off and said “f*ck you, Raphael- I don’t want you no mo’.” Fine. But I wasn’t touching it.

He was making his way through the neighbor’s bit of grass to the street. Even though I wasn’t about to hug and kiss it, I didn’t want to see it get hit by a car on my busy street. And the street would just keep getting busier, as it was a holiday. So, that’s when I called Animal Control. Closed. Closed, for the holiday. F*ck it all. I walked outside to find it, and it was gone. I was trotting up and down the street, bending down and looking under cars. Seriously. I was about six or seven houses up, on the other side of the street, and a young-ish couple were sitting on their front steps. I stopped and asked “excuse me, have you seen a turtle go by here?” They said nothing; they just stared. I continued telling the story with bits of “I’m afraid of turtles” and “I was taking out the garbage” and “It looks like Jell-O.” Nothing. Just staring. Then, I happened to look to my right and I saw its gross little head peeking out from under a parked car. “There it is!!” Finally realizing everything I had been telling them was the truth, the young girl exclaimed “I wanna see” and they both ran with me up to the car. When she went to touch it, her betrothed was all “don’t touch that thing, babe…it might have diseases.” Clearly, he was as much of a pussy as I was. He told me to call Animal Control and I told him that I did and that they were closed for the holiday. They basically shrugged and walked away.

guest post blog Traveling Marla South Africa move
This is a fish. Fish are better than turtles. They stay in the water. (At least in Friendship they do…mostly.)

So I went inside and that’s when I went a little crazy, I guess. I called 9-1-1. Yes, I know. I asked to be connected to my local police office, and then I explained the whole story to the poor on-call officer who rebutted with “ummm…let me get my supervisor.” I explain the situation again, panicked, to the station supervisor, and then, very condescendingly, he said “sir, a police officer isn’t going to come out on the Fourth of July to pick up a turtle.” Fine then. F*ck you. F*ck you with something hard and sand-papery.

Finally, I thought of the answer: Craigslist! Why not?! You can do anything or find anything there. This would be the first time I’m using Craigslist for a service like this! Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. It would be nice to branch out. Since I wasn’t getting near the horrific thing to take a photo, I Googled its features and decided it must be a spiny soft-shelled turtle. Oh, how awful! F*ckin’ gross me out. Anything this disgusting is proof there is no God, once again. So, I posted the dreadful picture in my Craigslist ad, and I don’t know exactly what I said, but it went something like:

Hello people, do you like turtles?! I don’t! I found one terrorizing my front yard, and I will help you take it away. I’m attaching a picture of this thing, and you’ll probably think it’s just ADORABLE if you’re into that sort of thing. It sorta got out of hand and is now roaming my block but I will give you my number and help you track it down. Bring a box. Also, don’t send me hate mail telling me I’m an a-hole for not getting it in water or it will die or whatever. It can die, because I’m not touching it. I don’t know if it will kick, bite, spit, jump, snap, or whatever, but I’m not finding out. Oh, its back is like Jell-O.

Still, I got a bunch of nasty hate-mail calling me a bastard for not wrangling or handling it. Waste of someone’s finger muscles; I didn’t even reply. Finally, this girl in Shadyside was all “I’m right down the street and I love turtles so I’ll be right there!” Great, beeyotcha. And hurry up. I have plans and it’s almost dark on the Fourth of July.

guest post blog Traveling Marla South Africa move
This is not a turtle. If a little yellow hippo were running down the street, this would have been a different story (for many reasons) and ended with me having a pet yellow hippo.

She came with her little box to load up the turtle and it took us like 20 minutes to find the damn thing. It was clear up by Friendship Park, almost a whole block away! We finally found the thing, pokin’ around some old lady’s begonias or something, and I swear to Pete, this girl left the box, scooped up the turtle under her arm like it was a textbook, waved goodbye, and hopped in her car. Fuh-reak! Whew, what a night!

My plans fell though. I got a couple drinks at a local dive by myself.


Happy World Turtle Day!

guest post blog Traveling Marla South Africa move
Brandon Sink author photo

Brandon Sink, 30, currently resides in a rainbow-colored mansion, Haus du Sparkles, just outside of Dollywood. He runs a turtle sanctuary and owns three prize-winning poodles: RZA, GZA, and Elton John.


While my nephew does not have a website or blog you can check out (yet!) I encourage you to leave him comments below. I cannot get enough of this kid’s sense of humor. Read a little more about him by clicking here.


Traveling Marla is unplugged for three weeks while she prepares for her move to South Africa. She put out a call for guest posts (see original request here), and is grateful to receive so much support! Please see the full list below.

Please support these writers by reading each of their guest posts and checking out their own blogs!

Thanks, as always for taking time to read my blog and comment. Although I’m offline right now, I will return in a few short weeks when we’re settled in South Africa and I promise to read all of your comments!

Love, Marla

Ned Hickson of Ned’s Blog
Rose, of On the Go Fitness
Pierr Morgan
Leslie and Amanda, of Survival is Relative
Colin of Uber Beast Mode
Robyn, of You Think Too Much
Baz – The Landy (Out and About and Having Fun)
Brandon: my quirky, brilliant, dashing nephew
Dallas, of Crazy Train to Tinky Town
Caroline, of Currer and the Bells
Dakota Garilli
Trophos, of The Dancing Professor
Leo, of Doggy’s Style
Kayla, of Encounter Peru
Benjamin Prewitt – Expression of my life – An evolution of art
Kriscinda, of Heavy Metal Homesteading
Lynne, of Home Free Adventures
Jeff: my witty and hilarious ebberlubbinbrudder
Jody, of Human Triumphant
Julie of J-Bo.net
Ingrid, of Live Laugh RV

8 thoughts on “Turtle Fear and the Reluctant Animal Rescue

  1. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing this story before, in person, from Brandon himself. It is still just as funny reading it!

  2. That was hilarious! My favorite part was don’t send the hate mail…waste of finger muscles…love it! I’m using that on Facebook someday…I’ll give you credit. I wonder if he’s still alive…wonder what she named him. Great guest spot, Brandon!!!

  3. I love you and this story! Hysterical. You need a blog… or your own TV show.

  4. Hahahahaa!! I had completely forgotten that story! Hahaha!! It’s even funnier now reading it!
    Awesome bio too! BTW, how do you pronounce RZA? hahaha

  5. Geez, he looks like his grandpa in that pic. Well, like his grandpa did 50 years ago.
    And I got a kick out of his post!
    Miss you, Marla, but enjoying your guest bloggers as well.

Comments are closed.