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Orphaned Puppies & Lonesome Tortoise Become Best Friends

When a man found four stray puppies in his backyard, he didn't know what to do with them.

Stray dogs will often seek closed-off, protected areas to give birth, and a man living near Corona, California, learned this lesson through first-hand experience. He found a litter of young puppies living on his property, and he knew he couldn't leave them to grow up on the streets. He gathered the four babies into an empty beer box and went out searching for help.

What he found was 2nd Chances Rescue. One of the rescue's frequent fosters, Andrea, agreed to take the puppies into her home until they were ready to be adopted. She made sure they were fed and gave them a safe place to sleep, but they were still obviously scared about being in a new place with new people. Andrea gave the orphaned puppies all the love she could, and she let them get to know their temporary new home, which included a rescued Sulcata Tortoise named Goliath.

Weighing over 80 pounds, Goliath is a gentle giant. He lives with Andrea and loves to follow her around while seeking pets and attention. The giant reptile was used to puppies coming and going, thanks to Andrea's reputation as a foster, but the presence of furry visitors never seemed to interest him. In the past, foster puppies and dogs were either afraid of Goliath or completely ignored him. Goliath didn't seem to mind and always kept to himself and Andrea.

This litter of puppies, however, was different.

One day when Andrea let the puppies in the yard to play, she lost one. She panicked when she couldn't find the fourth puppy, but she eventually spotted the little guy in an unexpected place — The pup was hanging out with Goliath inside the tortoise's private hutch. After that, Andrea realized all the puppies frequently went inside the hutch to see Goliath. And when Goliath was out in the yard, the puppies were usually by his side.

The five rescue animals are often found curled up together in the grass. Goliath lets the puppies climb over his shell, lick his thick skin, and they even share the occasional meal. They make an odd-looking group, but for an unknown reason, Goliath's friendship is exactly what the puppies needed. They're confident and playful around their best buddy, and Andrea is convinced Goliath likes the puppies just as much as they like him.

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READ MORE: 10 Types of Turtles You Can Have as Pets