Life’s a beach for holidaying tortoise

Lara Alford is already planning her next holiday with tortoise Donald.

Donald the tortoise

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

FOR most tortoises the furthest they ever go is when they stray into a neighbour’s garden.

But not Donald.

Admittedly most of his time is spent at a slow pace enjoying long summer days pottering around the garden, nibbling on lettuce leaves.

But every year, when his owner Lara Alford goes on holiday, he goes to.

His belongings are packed into a suitcase and he heads off to the West Country with Laura and her other pets – dogs Dudley and Bru.

Lara is one of a growing number of people who are choosing to holiday with their pets – be it rabbit, guinea pig or tortoise.

For Lara holidaying with her pets started six years ago when she took her then dog Solo on a camping trip to the New Forest.

It was such a success the Blue Cross West End rehoming centre manager decided to take all her dogs on her next holiday – and now she takes Donald, 12, along too.

Daily Echo:

Lara’s pets have accompanied her to the beach in Cornwall and Devon and even on a narrow boat holiday.

Donald has visited more parts of the UK than many people.

According to a survey by the Blue Cross 44 per cent of pet owners take their pets on summer breaks, 30 per cent have chosen to stay in animal- friendly hotels in the past year and one in ten have a ‘pet passport’ so they can take furry members of the family abroad.

Lara said: “I like having them with me and I enjoy watching them having fun.

They are so well behaved and much easier than children.

I take Donald because he’s a small tortoise and he h i b - ernates for a very short time so he’s up for most of the winter indoors. They are quite complicated to look after properly and it’s quite a lot to ask somebody to do, besides which, I would miss him too much.”

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