Louisville man's best friend gets new ride


by Chelsea Rabideau


Posted on August 17, 2012 at 11:17 PM

Updated Sunday, Aug 19 at 11:39 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Spike the tortoise has been wandering the streets of Louisville with his caretaker William. But, Spike has gotten just a little too big. So, one woman decided to give Spike a gift that was all his own.

The 9-year-old African tortoise belongs to the son of the executive director of the Wayside Christian Mission, Timothy Moseley. But, Spike was too big to keep at home, so Moseley asked William Duncan to take care of him.

“Basically, I feed him once a day, I give him a bath two or three times a week, and I take him for a walk out on the sidewalks and people stop and take pictures and ask me all about what kind of turtle he is,” explained Duncan.

Duncan lives at the Mission and works in the print shop, but when he’s not working, he’s looking after Spike.

“I had no idea that I’d be taking care of an African tortoise, but it’s been an adventure. It’s a little trying at times and he’s a little heavy when you carry him, but he’s worth it,” said Duncan.

Every day, Duncan carries Spike down to the waterfront, which isn’t an easy feat considering Spike weighs about 75 pounds. Marjorie Dunn saw Duncan carrying Spike one day and stopped to meet the unusual pair. Impressed by their story, she decided to help Duncan out.

“I decided to help Spike get a wagon,” said Dunn, “I got the wagon and brought it over to an artist friend of mine who arted it up, so Spike has a wagon.”

Dunn’s friend, Cody Baum jazzed the wagon up with a sign on the front, a personalized Kentucky plate on the back and a small dose of irony. “We thought something maybe muscle car or hot rod, so the flames kind of, that’s where those came into place to make it look fast and quick and speedy,” explained Baum.

Friday, Duncan and Spike tried the wagon out for the first time. Having a 75 pound tortoise might seem like a lot of work. But, Spike isn’t a burden. In fact, Duncan says caring for him is more like therapy.

“I used to be an alcoholic,” Duncan explained, “I spent a lot of time drinking by myself and isolating from other people. I never did ask many questions or really care much about anything but the beer bottle….I was real sick, in my mind and because of the alcohol. Once I got off the alcohol, I started realizing how important it is to ask questions and talk to people and take care of what you’re supposed to take care of, your responsibilities.”

Spike still isn’t full grown. Duncan expects him to grow to about 250 pounds in the next several years.