Jane Gives a Turtle a Shot, And We Find Out Stuff…

Rereading the last post, I realize how wonderful you are.  You read it, and there’s not one bad comment!  In my head, the last post was…cohesive…and…


I marvel at my capacity for wishful thinking.

So here’s the deal: I’ll keep posting, and it may or may not be readable interesting, and hopefully, my sense of humor will be tricked into returning.

Great inspiration for doing, not thinking, can be found at The Barb Wire. (Thank you, Tamara!)


Photo of a Florida Box Turtle (Terrapene carol...

Once upon a time, there was a woman named, oh I don’t know….Jane…who lived in a house with 32 front stairs, in a dust-scented, sun-dappled redwood forest. Her three horses lived a few miles away.

She was definitely not in danger of being a crazy cat-lady. She only had two cats.

And two dogs, and four parrots, and one bunny, and one large box turtle, Celeste.

One day, Jane noticed Celeste wasn’t feeling well.

Jane liked to watch Celeste eat. Celeste’s fast snatching, and slow, methodical chomping made her think of prehistoric things like raptors,  T-Rex’s,  tangly jungles, and plants that eat bugs.

Everyone knows these things are cool, and much nicer to think about than calculating wholesale output + shipping costs, X expected shelf foot-print, X expected turn over time, = potential markup.

Or having to ask the really big shirtless guy to please remove the expensive silk scarf he’s trying to shoplift out of his armpit.

Yes, watching Celeste poke her head out of her expandable neck, and snap up a piece of lettuce like a predator, then freeze, presumably to see if a bigger predator happened to notice her, is a lot more fun than looking up at a big smelly guy while both of you pretend it’s normal that he’s pulling an unpaid-for scarf out of …blech.


Celeste’s golden eyes were dull. She hadn’t moved all night. A normal person would kiss the box turtle goodbye.  Abnormal people cart their turtles to the reptile veterinarian for a check up.

The vet is surprised to see a common box turtle. He usually sees only very rare and expensive reptiles. He was probably thinking, “why doesn’t she just kiss the box turtle goodbye?”.

In what appears to be a miracle of divination, since Jane never left the exam room, the vet simply picks the turtle up, turns her this way and that, and determines that Celeste is suffering from an acute inner ear infection. (?!?)

She would need injections of antibiotics twice a day.  Clear that sucker right up.

We’re all horse people, and we know how to give injections.  How different can a turtle be?

The vet kinda can’t believe Jane’s onboard.

But he fills a syringe, grabs a leg, and shows her how to inject the antibiotic in between the scales of Celeste’s, uh, forearm.

When it’s time for antibiotics at home, Jane is pleasantly surprised: it’s easy to give a turtle a shot, and it seems pain-free.

The next morning, Celeste is bright-eyed. She glares at Jane for being late with breakfast.  Jane is so so happy Celeste is better!  Look, she’s totally grumpy!  Jane feeds her, and gets ready for work, thinking she’ll give shot #3 on her way out the door.

Jane fills the syringe within sight of Celeste, who appears to notice nothing. This time, when Jane reaches her hand out to pick up Celeste, the turtle snaps herself shut like a boulder, one eye glint barely visible in the darkest recess of her shell. Not even a toenail is poking out with which to try to pry her open.

Jane is surprised:

  • Turtles are smart?
  • Gee, it probably does sting.
  • Now what?

Jane calls the vet. “How do we give a shot to a rock?”

He says, “You’re going to laugh.”

Jane says, “Try me.  I’m late for work.”

The vet says “Put her on the carpet flat side down, and push her.  Like a kid would push a toy car.” he pauses, “I know this sounds  unbelievable, but she’ll think she’s walking, and she’ll begin to walk.  Then you can grab a leg.”

Jane is highly doubtful of this technique.  Celeste has used an ancient skill of self-protection perfected by her ancestors over millions of years. Pushing her like a toy car?

But Jane removes her high heels, kneels on the carpet, and plays “car” with Celeste.

After a few passes and a half-hearted Vroom, Vroom, Celeste pokes her head out to check her legs: am I walking?

A leg pokes out. In a very short amount of time, Celeste is scuttling on her own, as fast as possible, away from the crazy human gleefully shouting “VROOM VROOM”.

Got the leg. Got the injection.  Turtle made a full recovery.


How this relates to the blog:

There are hard things in our lives at the moment. We have two more surgeries scheduled for our still sick family member in April and May. We can’t exactly remember what it feels like not to be constantly worried and afraid. WE NEED TO LAUGH.

I’m thinking if I just tell you the clammed-up truth, pick up the blog, make car noises, and push it in silly ways, maybe my sense of humor will poke out its rusty, pre-historic scaled legs, make a break for it, and we can catch it while it’s fleeing?

Just thinking about sitting on the floor in my stockings, trying to grab the leg of a turtle determined to make it past the Himalaya of my handbag makes me laugh.

Want to help me give a turtle a shot?

48 thoughts on “Jane Gives a Turtle a Shot, And We Find Out Stuff…

  1. So I was going to thank you for my having learned a new word. When I see one I don’t know, I do as I was taught by my favorite college journalism professor and look it up. Or Google, because it’s 2012. #1 result= bugalian sex torrent search. The rest are misspelled aliens. WTH is “bugalian”?!

    1. “Bugalian” is (unfortunately) based on the ancient Jane-Speak for “exclusively bug eating”, sort of founded on the idea that any eating preference is describable if you simply add “arian” to the end. (Typo. Sorry! Was supposed to be bugarian, but we’ll go with bugalian?)
      Example: “I’m not a vegetarian, I’m an annoying bugarian.”

  2. LOVE this post!!! I have a friend who had to give shots to Bob the snake for a while after he was attacked by the rat he was supposed to eat. Don’t you love the irony? 😀 I have to share this with her…

    1. That is too funny! The poor snake violently attacked by his dinner.
      A good reason to urge our slithery friends to go bugalian, and feed them crickets….?
      I imagine giving a snake a shot was not so easy. 😉

    1. Oh, I hear you! Life has a way of interupting our leisurely reading time. You wrote a GREAT post. I really needed the reminder to stop thinking, and start doing. It’s so much easier when I decide certain things are as automatic as breathing. (The gym went on my “NO! DO NOT THINK!!!” list.)

  3. Thanks Jane, I needed that! after a mystery extreme over- reaction to oncoming horse traffic which resulted in me being a sand dart from my mare last night, and her unknown bump on her butt ( hunter’s bump?) and the first anniversay of my father’s death fast approaching to say I am wrapped a bit tight would be an understatement. I’m sharing on my facebook too 🙂

    1. “Sand dart”: a new (to me) and completely delightful descriptor. Cracked me up. I’m sorry we share the wrapped too tight, but glad you shared the moment of tongue in cheek humor!

  4. You’re doing great – I have less horrible stress in my life than you do, and I’ve been a turtle, clamped tightly into my own shell. I enjoy reading your blog so much, even if your humor isn’t up to your own (overly high) standards.

    And as a vet tech and former employee of an exotic animal practice, THANK YOU for not just kissing your common turtle goodbye. Small human children are common too, yet no one expects you to let one die rather than take it to the doctor.

    1. I have to say, I did feel very weird writing “kiss it goodbye”, because it’s not something I”m capable of, or we are capable of here. KIG must exist in an alternate reality. The vet was so happy I brought him a box turtle, that he would not allow me to pay him for the visit, and asked me to tell anyone else who had a less-than-expensive reptile, to bring it to him. I paid for her meds, and brought her back to visit (with a large box of chocolates) when she was well. He asked if she wrote letters of recommendation. LOL. Which is how Celeste became pen pals with a vet, and regularly sent him postcards!

  5. Turtle car. I’m dying. Please. stop. can’t. breathe. your. fault.

    Now, go visit my blog and look at puppy pix. There’s very little in this universe that isn’t improved by puppy pictures….

  6. Just talk. The more you don’t-talk the worse it gets. Just spew some blather out and all of a sudden you’ll see some humor in absurdity and then you’ll get your funny mojo back and you’ll make your family laugh too and everything will be just a tiny bit better. Just talk. 🙂

  7. Turtles are great – if they are funny and make you laugh (or maybe it’s you that was funny and made us laugh . . .) whatever, as the teens say! Great stuff, good to raise your and our spirits!

  8. Sick sucks. Turtle stories are good. You make my days brighter, even when you can’t pretend life doesn’t hurt. Hope you find someone to push you across the rug who doesn’t need to give you a shot.

    1. Thank you for saying that. There is so much rightness in your comment all I can do is nod and say thank you! I’m fairly certain no member of my family would miss out on a chance to push me across the rug while making car noises…

  9. The things I learn reading this blog… Who knew! This post made me smile in the middle of stressful moving, unpacking, starting an overwhelming new job, my dear one commuting long distance, etc. Namaste and Shalom to you!

    1. That is a lot of stress! Glad it helped. 🙂
      Shaun and the kids like to test me, to see what kinds of things I might have learned. There was the time a Macaw i was babysitting panicked, and tried to crawl into my eyeball (no clue why she thought that was a safe place) so I can also tell you the practical steps to removing a macaw from your eye…

  10. Oh, Jane! You always make me laugh! I’m glad that nobody is around this time so I don’t have to explain why I’m guffawing at my computer.

    And ::hugs:: How about I give you some laughs now for when you need them? These are my favorites:



    I promise, these are the best laughs I have right now.

    1. I almost peed my pants with Henri and the Wack-a-Kitty. I haven’t laughed that hard in ages. I couldn’t take it so I had my co-worker watch too – we were crying we were laughing so hard.

      Literary Horse – Had no idea a turtle had a personality; I’m so glad she made it through. My new mantra: be the turtle. 🙂 Hoping the best for you and your loved ones.

  11. See, even when you are not happy, you enable learning. My new knowledge for the day: how to get a turtle who has battened the hatches to open a porthole! You will be happy again — you have a naturally happy heart.

    1. I wonder how a turtle would feel about a matchbox car race track….? (Thank you for the encouragement.) Note to self: you still possess a happy heart. If momentarily lost, check the blanket fort.

  12. Sign me up. and if things get really bad, I will trade you the technique for a vaginal flush on a llama. We need to share all of our special skills, especially if it keeps us cackling.

    1. Holy…Llama. Now THAT is a special skill, given llamas can spit and kick at the same time. I’m imagining a strong tranquilizer or very solid set of hobbles was needed. Brave woman!

  13. Loved your post. Loved that the humor is there, even when the serious stuff may seem like it is smothering it. Gosh, darn… wish I had known the car thing when I owned a box turtle!

    1. I am fully on board with the power of denial, the possibility of subverting angst into a fit of funeral giggles. (You know, that moment at the funeral when you just CAN’T look at your cousin, because you are SO going to start snorting out machine gun-esque laughter, just because it’s a funeral, and you’re not supposed to laugh?)

    1. Oh oh oh…I am holding my sides, snorting and choking, trying very hard not to wake up the rest of the family. HILARIOUS. You guys gotta read this! We may get a “How Jane ended up with a Wall O Rabbits” story out of this!

  14. This entry sure made me smile, and it’s even better to know that it makes you smile in these hard times, too! Sending healing vibes and positive thoughts to you and your family right now, and THANK YOU for continuing to blog through it all! ❤

  15. Okay well here’s the thing, your sense of humor IS still intact because it IS really funny that all of us commented on the last post with “photos of poop! that’s terrific! what a great friend!” I mean, if you needed further proof that horse people are crazy, well there you have it. (By the way, my comments have not been appearing here, but I think I have fixed the glitch on my end.)

    As for the upcoming few months, I would really, really love to have you free of worry and fear and I hope this is the last of it, you have not had an easy time as of late. I will do my best to stand behind you and make “vroom vroom” noises.

    1. We are crazy, aren’t we? In a rare, goofy, solidarity sort of way. I know every single one of you would send me a photo of poop to make me feel better. What says dedicated friendship more than a glossy close up of solid waste? Hey, Marissa…let’s have a poop party! I promise I will post a poop slideshow of all photos sent in to TLH. Crazy fun? Or crazy Uh-Oh? 😉

  16. This is the deal Jane. Those of us who read your blog come back to read what you have to say – not because we want visual chocolate (well, maybe some of us do), but because you find a way to make every day occurrences interesting. Um, the turtle/car thing? Maybe not so every day, but definitely interesting.
    We consider you a friend, and we worry, celebrate and mourn with our friends.
    If you need to VROOM Vroom the blog – then do so, eventually, the legs will come out again!

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