Dagney Lowell only got the tortoise to keep the iguana company. Lowell, a St. Paul resident and lifelong animal lover, had decided her pet iguana, though "amazing," was looking a little glum.
"I don't really think reptiles should be kept as pets," Lowell says now. "They look so sad, and you feel sad for them."
So, Lowell went out and got a tortoise companion for her iguana. She named the tortoise Rock 'N' Roll.
He and the iguana did get along well, and both made good company for Lowell. But a few years later, the iguana fell ill and died. Now it's just Lowell, Rock 'N' Roll, and her three pitbulls.
Or, it was, until Rock 'N' Roll made a break for it. Early last week, the deceptively strong little guy took advantage of a misplaced rock on his cage door, bent some bars, and escaped. By the time Lowell figured out what had happened, the tortoise was long gone.
This is Rock 'N' Roll's third successful jailbreak, but the longest in duration. (Lowell found him on her own once before, and another time, a neighbor kid brought him back.) His loving owner has done all she could to recover her reptile: She posted signs throughout the area — "DOES NOT BITE," they say — and has taken to searching her yard with a flashlight at night.
Lowell lives on West Robie Street, a few blocks south of Prospect Park. If you see a cute, slow-moving escapee in that neighborhood, please contact her immediately at 651-207-6914.
Asked if she had a photo to provide, either on the signs, or to City Pages, to help the cause, Lowell balked at the idea.
"Tortoises pretty much all look the same," she says.
Hers, for those interested in helping, is roughly "softball-sized," and "very smart."
To this point, Lowell isn't too worried about Rock 'N' Roll's welfare. She has a big yard, with plenty of places for him to dig down and hide or seek shelter. The only result of his disappearance so far is a good one: She's getting more exercise than usual going out and looking for him.
"Part of me is like, 'Well, I hope you're having fun,'" Lowell says, earnestly. She adds: "But I do believe he's coming back. My animals always come back. I just love animals. They do amazing things for us."