This box turtle has been a frequent summer visitor to the front porch of the farmhouse the last two summers — and we’ve been watching for it this year and wondering if it survived the winter. Its cracked, battered shell makes it easily recognizable. The grown dogs recognized it and paid no attention as it crawled across the concrete toward the dog food dish. The puppies were a bit more concerned.

Bebe ordered the pups back, then settled down to keep an eye on things while the old guy snacked on some dog food bits. Bebe’s like that. Once she knows the rules, she enforces them, and the rule is, you don’t mess with this old turtle. It’s a friend. Still, Homer (formerly known as Patches), can’t resist a quick sniff.

Sable tried to play with it, which earned her a sharp, chastising bark from Bebe. So she stretched out to pout and watch.
Then she realized it had dog food before it.

And it ate the dog food.

Hippo (on the right) joined her a few minutes later. He’d been off playing with a stick and wasn’t sure what was happening. I don’t think he believed that story about the turtle eating their dog food at first.

Then the turtle headed for a lone piece of dog food on the concrete — straight for it, with a purposeful gleam in its eyes. It was moving fast for a turtle, its nails scraping against the cement.

CHOMP! The turtle ate it. Hippo jumped up, looking startled.

And that’s the box turtle lesson. I’m hoping the snapping turtle lesson doesn’t happen anytime soon. Or on my porch.