Therapy Tortoise Provides Comfort to Patients - NBC New York
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Therapy Tortoise Provides Comfort to Patients

The therapy tortoise has helped patients at the 42-bed facility cope with their injuries and disabilities.

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    Therapy Tortoise Provides Comfort to Patients

    For the last two years, an African Spur Thigh Tortoise named Shelly has helped patients cope with their injuries and disabilities. Chautauqua Rehabilitation and Nursing Center patients say having the 80-pound tortoise as one of their roommates is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. (Published Tuesday, June 23, 2015)

    Residents at a northwest Florida nursing home have a rather young — and unusual — roommate.

    Shelly is a 20-year-old African Spur Thigh Tortoise and has served as a therapy animal at Chautauqua Rehabilitation and Nursing Center for the past two years, NBC affiliate WJHG reported.

    "They will come and befriend Shelly and come out and greet Shelly every day and make it part of their routine,” said Brandy Meredith, an employee at the center and Shelly's caretaker.

    The therapy tortoise has helped patients at the 42-bed facility cope with their injuries and disabilities. Some patients stay there temporarily as they recover from knee and hip replacements, but others remain permanently. They appreciate having Shelly there all the more.

    Long-term patient Winnie Ruthbrookshire planted a garden in the center's courtyard where Shelly lives that's filled with his favorite foods.

    “We’re just blessed to have something like that and to be able to see it [Shelly] and be one of our friends,” Ruthbrookshire told WJHG.