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Woman's 22 years long friendship with unique pet is melting hearts online: 'He is with me forever'

During the quarantine, she didn't expect for her companionship with her pet to win so many hearts online.

Woman's 22 years long friendship with unique pet is melting hearts online: 'He is with me forever'
Cover Image Source: Instagram | @caitlinandtiptoe

The beautiful bond that pets and their humans share is rooted in the unfiltered love that the animals share with their owners. But as much as we cherish having a pet, their lifespan is less than ours and we only get to spend a few years with them. Caitlin Doran—who goes by @caitlinandtiptoe on TikTok— as been sharing 22 years with her pet tortoise, TipToe, and expects to spend many more decades with him. Ever since Doran's very first video of Tiptoe's mealtime amassed a large viewership on social media, the tortoise's everyday routine has gained millions of followers.

Image Source: TikTok | @caitlinandtiptoe
Image Source: TikTok | @caitlinandtiptoe

During the COVID-19 pandemic quarantine period, Doran, who has a master’s degree in behavior analysis, began posting videos of Tiptoe on TikTok. Seeing videos of people showing off the meal preps they made for their spouses or partners, Doran decided to make a spoof video of the same but never expected it to blow up this far. The 22-year-old friendship between Doran and the African tortoise, Tiptoe began when Doran was just 7 years old. As a Christmas gift, young Doran asked Santa for a tortoise and her wish came true. "I don't know if I just loved the attention from having a unique animal," Doran told Fox News Digital and added, "But I knew I wanted something I could just spend a lot of time with, so a tortoise was up there."


 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Caitlin Doran (@caitlinandtiptoe)


 

The little palm-sized baby Tiptoe that Doran received two decades ago has now grown up to 175-pound and considering its average lifespan of around 100 years, Tiptoe is currently at its prime. Talking about growing up with TipToe, Doran said, "It is such a learning process because each tortoise is so different and you have to learn the signals he gives you." She credits the online "tortoise community" from which she and other tortoise owners like her share and learn from each other. While Tiptoe's meals mostly include vegetables and fruits, Doran's Instagram videos show that she tries to be creative in feeding her pet offering him flowers, leaves, cactus pads and even vegetable lasagna.


 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Caitlin Doran (@caitlinandtiptoe)


 

Based in Los Angeles, Doran had to figure out how to navigate life with Tiptoe in the city and the pair are now used to going for walks around Doran's neighborhood. It takes 40 minutes for the tortoise and his owner to take a stroll around the block which is short of a mile. "Whether somebody is super outgoing or very shy, they're going to come say 'Hi' to Tiptoe," Doran told the media channel and added, "It's such an easy conversation piece." Recently, Doran shared about Tiptoe's visit to the Disney Concert Hall in LA where people interacted with him and fed him his favorite meal.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Caitlin Doran (@caitlinandtiptoe)


 

The pet owner revealed that unlike other animals Tiptoe is hard to direct and that most of her videos are completely candid. Doran's dedication to trying new recipes for Tiptoe is also being fueled by avid followers who want her to try fun things with the 175-pound animal. "You hear so much about hate and all this negativity online and you just can't do that to a tortoise," said Doran about Tiptoe's social media journey and added, "I feel like it's just such a place of positivity." As the holiday season begins, Tiptoe in a recent post gets ready for Christmas and poses adorably.


 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Caitlin Doran (@caitlinandtiptoe)


 

"Keeping up with him as he grows older has been challenging because we do have to make a lot of modifications," Doran said about raising Tiptoe. But she is all up for a life of adventure with the tortoise. Doran said "He is with me forever. It's literally a package deal. Nothing needs to be as 'go, go, go,' as you make it. Slow and steady actually works."

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