Jeanna Smith has had a constant companion by her side for the past 56 years, since she was only 10 years old. No, not a sibling. No, not her childhood sweetheart. Her tortoise, George, who was given to her as a present when she was a little girl.

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Smith always had a love for turtles, and she used to keep them for the summer before releasing them in the fall, so her parents decided to get her a tortoise for her 10th birthday.

George has been by Smith’s side ever since. When she was a little girl, George used to ride in a basket when Smith took long bike rides. George even went away to college with Smith and became a beloved resident in her all-girls dorm.

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Smith is now married and with a family of her own, and George has been along for the entire ride. Well, most of the ride. George has a mischievous side, and three times in his life he’s escaped the house. The last time was in 1988, and he was found in a neighbor’s yard.

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George is a gopher tortoise and, because he’s in captivity, could live to be 100 years old. Smith is well aware that her beloved pet might outlive her. If that happens, George will go to Smith’s daughter and her family.

She said, “When I go, then George will go and live with them. It’s in the will.”

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Watch the video below to learn more about this great story!

Long live George!