When Stanley, a California desert tortoise, came into her life 5 years ago, actress Jill Lover had no idea that her pampered pooch, Shirley Chicken, would be so welcoming.
But the Chihuahua/pug (“chug”) mix took a liking to the slow-moving newcomer almost immediately. Their friendship just keeps growing as the years pass.
They enjoy doing things with Lover, like going to the beach, riding in the car and visiting pet-friendly restaurants. Starbucks is one of their favorite hangouts, although everywhere they go they draw lots of attention. (In Los Angeles, where they live, it’s not unusual to run into various celebrities. However, with Stanley and Shirley they’re the ones who often get all the attention.)
“I know people think I’m nuts for bringing my tortoise out, but he really is like a low-key dog,” says Lover. And she loves treating him like one.
But, as we know, tortoises love to hibernate, and Stanley is no exception. The 50-year-old reptile takes a hiatus from all the action for several months a year — to sleep in his pet bed, oblivious to the world around him.
While Shirley may miss her hard-shelled friend during hibernation periods, she probably thinks it’s nice to have all the attention focused on her from time to time. After all, when hibernation is over, Stanley will be back in the picture — full speed ahead.