Stories of long lost pets being reunited with their owners are often touching. But for an Arizona family, it wasn't a dog or cat, as some would expect, that was returned after they had lost hope of it ever being found -- it was a 100-pound tortoise.
Though not missing as long as the one owned by a Brazilian family found after 30 years, Mary Plumb's tortoise escaped her Casa Grande, Ariz., yard in Nov. 2012 and spent a year away from home.
The tortoise named Sampson, Plumb would later learn, was found after six months of wandering 30 miles away from home. According to KPHO-TV, Sampson was then taken into foster care for another six months.
Sampson the tortoise was returned to the Plumb family farm after he went missing more than a year ago. (Image source: KPHO-TV)
It was Jonathan Grove from Hidden Valley who took in Sampson, naming him Eddie at the time, KNXV-TV reported. In October of this year, Grove told the news station he could no longer care for Sampson/Eddie and actively tried to find the tortoise's owner.
Eventually, word of the tortoise reached George Plumb, Mary's husband, who said Sampson responded to his voice when he met Grove to view the animal. A microchip in Sampson's leg confirmed the family's ownership.
The Plumbs have a pretty extensive show of animals on their farm -- 73 in all, according to KNXV -- but George Plumb stressed they have a good enclosure for them.
The tortoises, which can live up to 100 years old, are animals the family hopes to pass on to their grandchildren. (Image source: KPHO-TV)
He told the news station tortoises are notorious for digging out.
"I don't have the best tortoise enclosure, I'll be honest. I probably need a brick wall," George said, according to KNXV.
Watch KPHO-TV's report:
Though the couple has many unusual animals, Mary Plumb told KPHO the tortoises are special due their ability to live up to 100 years.
"We plan on hopefully being able to will them to our grandchildren someday and being able to continue that as a heritage within our family, because we've enjoyed them so much," Mary Plumb said.
"I didn't know if he was alive still or anything," the Plumb's son, Charles, told KPHO. "But, I hoped he was. So, I'm glad he is."