Loyal Turtle Of 24 Years Is Flower Girl At Her Dad's Wedding
“She is my lifelong companion." 🌸🌸🌸
24 years ago when he was 8 years old, Paul McDonald and his friend were coming out of a movie theater when they saw what they thought was a pebble on the ground in front of them. They quickly realized it was actually a very tiny turtle and immediately rushed to help her.
“She was headed into a very busy parking lot, and I was worried she’d be run over by a car,” McDonald told The Dodo. “We weren’t sure where she came from — there may have been a swampy area way behind the movie theater, but when we looked, we really couldn’t find anything that seemed suitable to relocate her to. I still had my soda cup from the movie I had just seen, and there was a big puddle nearby (it was a rainy day), so I rinsed out the cup and filled it with the rainwater and scooped Colors up.”
McDonald’s friend really wanted to keep the tiny turtle, but he had just gotten a pet gerbil, so his mom said no. McDonald was thrilled with this outcome because it gave him the opportunity to go home and convince his own parents to let him have a pet turtle — and so began the journey of a boy and his best friend, Colors.
As the years went on, Colors was around for every major event in McDonald’s life. They got to watch each other grow up, and neither of them will ever take for granted just how special that is.
“She is my lifelong companion,” McDonald said. “She’s always been around to cheer me up during the hard times, and she’s truly helped enrich my life with love, companionship, and the wonderful responsibility of caring for a loved one … I smile every time I see her and feel so lucky that we’ve been a part of each other’s lives for so long.”
When McDonald first met his now-wife, Shannon, he immediately told her about Colors. If she hadn’t been on board with the idea of a turtle companion, that would have been the end right there, but luckily, Shannon couldn’t wait to meet Colors, and now loves her just as much as her husband does.
As the couple was planning their wedding, they knew they wanted both Colors and Shannon’s rescue dog, Kylie, involved in the ceremony. They would need someone to watch over their girls for the day while they were busy getting married, though, so they contacted Julianne DeChaump of Luxe Dog Nanny to see if she could help. DeChaump has played the role of doggy chaperone at over 250 weddings but had never watched over a non-dog animal before, and she was absolutely thrilled when she learned about Colors.
“We’re the first company to chaperone a turtle,” DeChaump told The Dodo. “What a fun thing to know now! We love all animals, so it’s been very exciting to care for Colors on one of the biggest days of her parents' lives.”
DeChaump visited Colors and her sister, Kylie, before the wedding to get to know them and make sure they were totally comfortable. Even though she’d never worked with a turtle before, she quickly fell in love with Colors and couldn’t wait to look after her and help her be a flower girl on her dad’s big day.
On the day of the wedding, people just couldn’t get enough of Colors. Everyone loved the idea of her being involved in the ceremony so much and were having a blast getting to know her. Colors is a very curious and social turtle, so she was enjoying herself as well, hanging out with all of her parents’ friends while she waited for her big debut. DeChaump kept a close eye on her to make sure she wasn’t getting overwhelmed, but Colors remained totally relaxed and happy to be there.
Finally, it was Colors' time to shine. DeChaump entered the ceremony carrying her, placed her at the top of the aisle, then stood back so she could do her thing. The plan was to let Colors decide how she wanted to go about her entrance, and her bold choices definitely livened up the wedding.
“Colors took a couple steps forward, and then turned around,” McDonald said. “However, she showed no fear even when entering the most crowded room she’s ever been in. She didn’t ‘shell up’ at all, and I think her natural curiosity of the live music that was being played caused her to head in the direction of the guitarist rather than walk down the aisle. It also afforded me the opportunity to meet her at the bottom of the aisle so that we could walk up to the front together with me carrying her, which is secretly what I was hoping would happen.”
As soon as Colors entered the room, every single guest was applauding and roaring with laughter, so she really could have done anything and it would have pleased the crowd. The couple didn’t announce that Colors would be involved in the wedding, but most of the guests had already met her and knew her story, so it wasn’t a huge shock. It was common knowledge how important Colors has always been to Paul, and everyone loved watching her be there to welcome Shannon into the family.
After walking down the aisle with her dad, Colors was passed back to DeChaump, who later made sure that she got home safely. Even though she and Kylie weren’t at the reception, the couple made sure to still include them in little ways, like naming signature cocktails after them and putting their faces on playing cards that the guests got to take home. Colors and Kylie are hugely important to their parents, and that was definitely made known to everyone who attended the wedding.
It’s possible that Colors was the first-ever turtle flower girl, and she and her parents are so thrilled she was able to snatch that title. She and her dad have been best friends for 24 years now, and while he probably never imagined they’d be together for 24 years and counting, he wouldn’t have it any other way. His wedding day wouldn’t have been complete without her by his side.