Saturday 21 July 2018

The tortoise who came out of his shell

If you would like your pet featured in this column, please send a story of 440 words and a photograph to snews@independent.ie clearly labelled MY PET
If you would like your pet featured in this column, please send a story of 440 words and a photograph to snews@independent.ie clearly labelled MY PET

Eve Du Berry, Transition Year, Colaiste Phobal Ros Cre, Roscrea, Co Tipperary

My name is Mr Phobal and I'm a Hermann's tortoise (NOT to be confused with a turtle, I am a land animal so don't even try to dunk me in a pool of water!).

I'm not your typical household pet as I don't live in a house, I live in a school! Most pets only have one or two owners but not me; I have 600 people to take care of me (and give me strawberries).

You may not be aware, but I'm also a superstar. I've appeared in numerous newspapers and you may recognise me from the children's news programme news2day - I always knew I'd hit the big-time.

I lived a pretty chilled-out lifestyle with my old owners for five years, but things have surely kicked up a notch since I came to Colaiste Phobal Ros Cre.

This, of course, is all thanks to the school chaplain Fr Lorcan Kenny, whose idea it was to adopt me. He took me to my new home and takes great care of me. I spend my days in the school and then retire to Fr Lorcan's house for a rest every evening.

Two transition year girls (with help from a few boys) made me a kickin' crib.

It is handmade with plenty of bark and pebbles, which I love to kick around the place, and a warm heat lamp that I spend most of my time basking in.

There's also a poster that two other TYs made at the reception of the school, telling visitors what I'm all about. I fit into Colaiste Phobal so quickly, I'm truly a community tortoise (it's in my name!).

You could say that I'm spoiled rotten, with fresh strawberries every day and 600 people looking after me, but I have something to give as well.

I'm not just a fun friend, I'm a therapeutic animal. I have a great relationship with the students.

They come in and give me a pet and tell me what's on their mind. I'm a great secret-keeper, you know. I make lots of friends because I have optical recognition - so I'll know when you come to see me again! I know when you're sad, and when you're happy, so I can help people manage their emotions.

Here's some advice; take it nice and easy, don't rush and small steps are key.

Do what I do: only carry on your back what you need, and what you don't need, don't carry. Be kind, and slow and steady wins the race.

Love,

Mr Yoshi Phobal - the tortoise that came out of his shell.

Name: Yoshi Phobal

Finest hour: Interview on 'news2day'

Likes: Strawberries

Dislikes: The cold

n If you would like your pet featured in this column, please send a story of 440 words and a photograph to snews@independent.ie clearly labelled MY PET

Sunday Independent

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