The saga began months ago, when John Wayne broke through a metal fence, breaking the fence post. He was determined to take a stroll around the neighborhood. Since that escape, Grundy has gone door to door in her neighborhood, looked through ditches and pastures. She put up posters, called neighbors, advertised in the Hays Free Press and in Austin.

A resident recognized John Wayne’s photo in the Hays Free Press, and said the turtle looked a lot like the one recently adopted by San Marcos Mayor Daniel Guerrero.

Guerrero had found the turtle at the San Marcos Nature Center and adopted him in late August. The reptile, renamed “Leonard” since he was paired with a second turtle at the center named “Nimoy,” had been brought in to the center when he was found wandering alone in the Buda area. It was certainly John Wayne Leonard’s longest travel since he was given a home in Buda more than 20 years ago. The tortoise had taken a stroll before, heading to a neighbor’s house or into the woods. In the past, he had always been found immediately or had come back home.

But this time, someone picked him up and he never got home. His original owner had been frantic, as the nights got colder and colder. “I would look outside every day, wondering where he could be,” Grundy said.

The reunion of John Wayne, aka Leonard, took place last week, when a sad Guerrero gave up the turtle to an ecstatic Grundy.

“I am really going to miss him,” Guerrero said. The mayor has rescued other animals, mainly dogs, and made them a part of his family. His dogs, Summer, an aging Affenpinscher, Millie, a terrier mix, and Pepper, a Shihtzu, quickly became attached to John Wayne. Summer loved to take rides on John Wayne’s back. John Wayne was so popular that he accompanied Guerrero to the San Marcos City Hall and went to events such as the Pet Fest.

Grundy reminisced about her tortoise, recalling that she had had him since he was about the size of a quarter. He had lived on the countertop in the corner of the room when he was little, “sunbathing” under a heat lamp.

Grundy had moved with her family to the Houston area about 18 years ago. John Wayne, along with various dogs and birds, went there as part of the family. When Grundy moved back to Buda a few years ago, John Wayne returned to his original home west of Buda.

Now, Grundy is just glad that John Wayne has returned home again – for good. With news crews filming the reptile eating and walking around the yard, she smiles, tears filling her eyes. She’s happy that Guerrero had taken such good care of her tortoise, and that the turtle is now back. Grundy says she thinks he will have to be renamed. “John Leonard Wayne Grundy-Guerrero,” she says. “That fits.”

The saga began months ago, when John Wayne broke through a metal fence, breaking the fence post. He was determined to take a stroll around the neighborhood. Since that escape, Grundy has gone door to door in her neighborhood, looked through ditches and pastures. She put up posters, called neighbors, advertised in the Hays Free Press and in Austin.

A resident recognized John Wayne’s photo in the Hays Free Press, and said the turtle looked a lot like the one recently adopted by San Marcos Mayor Daniel Guerrero.

Guerrero had found the turtle at the San Marcos Nature Center and adopted him in late August. The reptile, renamed “Leonard” since he was paired with a second turtle at the center named “Nimoy,” had been brought in to the center when he was found wandering alone in the Buda area. It was certainly John Wayne Leonard’s longest travel since he was given a home in Buda more than 20 years ago. The tortoise had taken a stroll before, heading to a neighbor’s house or into the woods. In the past, he had always been found immediately or had come back home.

But this time, someone picked him up and he never got home. His original owner had been frantic, as the nights got colder and colder. “I would look outside every day, wondering where he could be,” Grundy said.

The reunion of John Wayne, aka Leonard, took place last week, when a sad Guerrero gave up the turtle to an ecstatic Grundy.

“I am really going to miss him,” Guerrero said. The mayor has rescued other animals, mainly dogs, and made them a part of his family. His dogs, Summer, an aging Affenpinscher, Millie, a terrier mix, and Pepper, a Shihtzu, quickly became attached to John Wayne. Summer loved to take rides on John Wayne’s back. John Wayne was so popular that he accompanied Guerrero to the San Marcos City Hall and went to events such as the Pet Fest.

Grundy reminisced about her tortoise, recalling that she had had him since he was about the size of a quarter. He had lived on the countertop in the corner of the room when he was little, “sunbathing” under a heat lamp.

Grundy had moved with her family to the Houston area about 18 years ago. John Wayne, along with various dogs and birds, went there as part of the family. When Grundy moved back to Buda a few years ago, John Wayne returned to his original home west of Buda.

Now, Grundy is just glad that John Wayne has returned home again – for good. With news crews filming the reptile eating and walking around the yard, she smiles, tears filling her eyes. She’s happy that Guerrero had taken such good care of her tortoise, and that the turtle is now back. Grundy says she thinks he will have to be renamed. “John Leonard Wayne Grundy-Guerrero,” she says. “That fits.”