hotchocolateandfuzzyblankets:

This little lady kept me company on a bad pain day today

Are you your humans support tortoise??? I’m one too! *Shell Five*

Here I am working on my ‘hands on support tortoise’ training 

It’s a tough and important job but we’re tough torts! We can handle it! 

Looks like you’re pretty good at your job. Nice to meet you! Please tell your human, that my human, sends a spoonie high five  😀

Meet Blink, the 5-year old tortoise that was born with no eyes. Living under the watchful eye of Peter Van Denburg and his wife Cassandra, who rescued her 3 years ago, she is an active and joyfully trouble making tort.

Blink works with the Wildlife Defenders of Bridges for Brain Injury program, an organization that trains adults who have suffered traumatic brain injuries to conduct wildlife education interventions and provides support through animal therapy. With the help of her humans, she makes frequent visits to local libraries to educate the public and  young and visits assisted living facilities to provide support to those in need of animal love.  

Peter and his wife Cassandra  provide a home for Blink and a plethora of exotic animals in need and also work with therapy dogs international. They are a family that rescued each other and continue to rescue others, animals and humans. 

Another fine support tort, and a beautiful one at that. 

(Source: Joanna Adams, Fltimes.com )

Blink herself, as Peter was quick to point out, should never have been a captured, domesticated pet at all. She should have been wild and free, except for one tragic flaw. She was born without any eyes at all.

This defect alone would have guaranteed an untimely demise in the wild, where she could not have survived. Peter theorizes Blink’s blindness may have been due to inbreeding.

He doesn’t advocate having tortoises as pets; normally, they belong in the wild. As such, their lifespan can be about 80 years, and they are more of a land animal. This contrasts with the more water-loving turtle, whose life expectancy is far less, at about 20 years.

Cassandra estimates Blink will grow to be about the size of a football. She is 5 years old now — they’ve had her since she was about 2 — and she has quite a ways to grow yet. Being a female, she has a shorter tail than a male and a flat plastron, or shell bottom. A male tortoise has a long tail and concave-shaped plastron.

Peter has taken Blink to Seneca Lake Terrace to entertain the residents there, as well as to local libraries. She loves to run around the yard, under the watchful eyes of Peter and/or Cassandra, and does so with great joy and abandon, oblivious to the dangers. She is very intelligent, responding when Peter comes into the room and the sounds of her feeding preparations and water sources.

While her hearing is most acute, she sometimes flips over helplessly and bumps into walls. Even though she has no eyes, she still has tear ducts which must be cleared when they plug, thus avoiding infections.

Blink’s food consists mainly of “monkey biscuits,” a fish, whey, soy, fat, herb and protein composite, as well as fresh fruits and bananas. She is often fed by hand.

Her veterinarian is Dr. Darby of Seneca Falls, who specializes in exotics and reptiles. He is emergency responsive and always has a veterinarian on call.

Peter and Cassandra met through the Wildlife Defenders of Bridges For Brain Injury. Their Animal Therapy Program is designed for adults with brain injuries who are higher functioning.

It has been 10 years since Cassandra’s accident, when she suffered a traumatic brain injury and she went through the Animal Therapy Program in Canandaigua. Peter and Cassandra also are active in Therapy Dogs International, the closest chapter being in Rochester. They are always looking for new, interested members.

We loved meeting Blink, enjoying her life under watchful gazes, and opening the eyes of others, to see what is possible because of two whose vision is broadened by compassion.

 Zoya is all dressed up for #MultipleSclerosis awareness week, thanks to @Jeffmusk ’s wig it up Wednesday!

Humom struggles with MS every day. This year, #MS awareness week started with some troubling test results for humom. Good thing Zoya’s got a tortie snuggle treatment plan in place (while the doctors try and do their own thing but we know tortie snuggles are the best treatment of all).  

Zoya also hopes you spread the word about #MultipleSclerosis so we can find a cure and get  humom (and some of our close tortie friends humoms) better! 

What is Multiple Sclerosis? 

Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic, typically progressive disease involving damage to the sheaths of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, whose symptoms may include numbness, impairment of speech and of muscular coordination, blurred vision, and severe fatigue.

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the condition affects approximately 400,000 Americans and is, with the exception of trauma, the most frequent cause of neurological disability beginning in early to middle adulthood.

There is no cure for multiple sclerosis. Visit http://www.nationalmssociety.org/ to learn more, find resources, and join the fight for a cure! 

BIG thanks to everyone who took the time to vote for Zoya and I! We won! Even more exciting, people are talking about non traditional therapy pets. Among the winners there were two tortoises! How cool is that? Also an awesome bunny and a kitty that looks like it just might have the side eye down pat. Very exciting!

Thank you thank you thank you! <3

~Tort-Time

BIG thanks to everyone who took the time to vote for Zoya and I! We won! Even more exciting, people are talking about non traditional therapy pets. Among the winners there were two tortoises! How cool is that? Also an awesome bunny and a kitty that looks like it just might have the side eye down pat. Very exciting!

Thank you thank you thank you! <3

~Tort-Time