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The Ionian

The Student News Site of Iona University

The Ionian

The Student News Site of Iona University

The Ionian

Love Gaels: A shell of a love story

Image made in Canva. For this issue’s “Love, Gaels” column, Editor-in-Chief Luis Lopez writes about the love for a pet turtle.

2024 marks many momentous occasions in my life especially graduating college, but it also marks the fourteenth birthday of my pet turtle, Raphael. This momentous occasion made me reflect on the great aspects of owning a turtle.

I have had dogs, birds, lizards and fish but I think turtles make for the best pet overall because of their laid-back attitude, resilience and sense of companionship – all aspects I learned growing up alongside Raphael.

Raphael felt like my first real pet. He isn’t a simple pet to take care of, but he isn’t too difficult either. I would consider turtles a good secondary level pet, not as simple as a fish but not as demanding as a cat or a dog. My recommendation may be a little biased, but turtles are great companions and incredible pets. 

Raphael is a red-eared slider turtle and has been in my life since his shell was the size of a quarter, I got him when my grandpa was cleaning out the flooding in his basement and found a baby turtle swimming around the floor. His origin story is always one I find so interesting, but also adds to his benefits of his pet status since his birth he was a resilient animal.

His name comes from the ninja turtle of the same name, “Raphael” (also the Renaissance artist) because he was my favorite turtle growing up and deepened my appreciation for my turtle and the franchise. Red-eared sliders can live without water for 8 hours and are awesome pets due to their unique personalities. My turtle is full of personality who constantly greets me at the edge of his tank whenever I return home.  

The notion of animals not having personalities is based on those who haven’t experienced the joy of a pet, and Raphael is a living example of animal personality.

He is a friendly and brave turtle. Friendly in the way he greets me whenever I enter my room and swims in the direction of the way I walk. Brave in the way he isn’t bugged by tapping on the glass courtesy of my little sister. 

Watching Raphael grow up as I also grew up means a lot to me in retrospect as I saw him go from a tiny baby turtle to a fully-fledged adult aged and sized turtle and the memories we shared and will continue to share will always mean so much to me. He has remained a loyal companion for the large majority of my life and his impact and appreciation will never go unnoticed.  

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Luis Lopez, Features & Lifestyle Editor

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