celebrating his 53rd birthday last March. Julian Duval brought baby Sam home to his mother's house in Chicago in 1966. Sam and 7 year old Therese Duval became best friends and shared many adventures together. Sam grew and grew and grew until he didn't fit in the bathtub anymore and one day their mother said ... "This is a house not a barn, Sam has to go!". They were all very sad but wanted the best for Sam ("because that's what friends do") and so in 1969 he was sent to a new home in sunny California to live with Lois Dickson (she had other tortoises and children too so Sam wouldn't be lonely). Therese missed him so much, she wrote letters to Lois for years and Lois promised to read the letters to Sam while petting his head.
Sam's friends all grew and changed and moved around this great big world. Sam grew and grew and grew and he moved too As Therese grew up the letters just stopped. Julian Duval settled in Encinitas, CA as CEO of the San Diego Botanic Garden in 1995.
It wasn't until 2009 that serendipity brought them together again (thanks to a SD Turtle and Tortoise Society's newsletter). Sam had been living less than an hour away! It was such a heart-warming reunion and happy story that I decided to write a book about friendship lost and found, TOO BIG TO LOSE!
Too Big To Lose won a 2016 Moonbeam Award in the Pet/Animal Category
Proceeds from sales of TOO BIG TO LOSE help to care for Sam who might live another 100 years or more!
Stay tuned for updates and access to our live SamCam when it is up and running!