Family searches for therapy tortoise

TOPEKA (KSNT) – A family from St. Louis is asking for help locating a tortoise that is more than just a pet.

Tortilla Peanut Pickle aka Tortilla or “Torti” for short, was last seen on Wednesday night on the back porch of a house the family is staying at in North Topeka.

“My mom gifted a tortoise to us,” Ashly Johnson said. The tortoise has been with the family for four years.

Torti is a therapy animal for Johnson’s 10-year-old son Logan.

Logan needs Torti because the animal helps him stay calm in high-energy situations. The pre-teen was diagnosed with Autism and Fragile X, an incurable disease that happens in less than 200,000 people in the country.

“Logan needs to regulate,” Johnson said. “Logan is always on the go and so he needs external factors to help him slow down.”

Johnson said Torti was a good match for her son because his natural slow and calm behavior. He weighs about 10 lbs and is approximately a foot long.

And although Torti is a therapy animal for Logan he was also part of the family.

“He’s a good pet, we really miss him,” Logan’s younger sister Leila said.

Johnson worries if the tortoise is not found or returned, she will have to find another therapy animal for her son and start the bonding process over again.

The family was scheduled to leave Topeka this weekend but will stay a week longer in the hopes Torti comes back.

“We do hope, whoever has him, returns him or at least takes good care of him,” Leila said.

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