“It’s just unbelievable,” said Ozzy’s owner, Marie Swartz Alvetof, to The Local.
Ozzy was born in 2004, and lived in a pen outside the Swartz Alvetof family’s summer cottage near Norrköping in central Sweden.
His parents, box turtles Ester and Gustaf, had been pets of the Swartz Alvetof family for about 20 years, and the pet owners were delighted when Ozzy joined the family in 2004 after years of breeding attempts.
“It was an amazing feeling. I really had to pinch myself,” said Marie.
“We were so excited we almost called newspapers at the time. It’s really rare for a turtle like this to be born in someone’s home.”
But after nearly two years of bliss, the Swartz Alvetof family was met with an unpleasant discovery one July evening in 2006 when Marie’s brother came to the the cabin for a visit.
“He wanted to show Ozzy to his girlfriend but when they went to the pen, they couldn’t see him. I told him to dig around a bit, and after awhile I came to help but we still couldn’t find him. That’s when the panic set in,” said Marie.
An extensive search continued for the next two days, but to no avail. Ozzy was nowhere to be found.
“We were always on the lookout however. Checking in ditches when we were out for walks, and being careful to check the grass before moving the lawn to make sure he wasn’t there,” said Marie
The months passed, the Swartz Alvetofts eventually sold their cottage, and began to accept that Ozzy may never return.
With hope of Ozzy’s return all but gone, the Swartz Alvetofts received some unexpected news last week from a neighbor who lived near their old summer cabin.
Ozzy had been found—about 200 metres from where his pen used to be.
“We could tell right away that it was Ozzy. There was no doubt. It’s sort of like he’s one of our children—he was easy to recognize,” said Marie.
And so, after nearly two years, the road-weary Ozzy is back with his parents, but not without a few battle scars from his extended adventure.
“He was cold, and tired, and weak, and missing a few claws,” said Marie.
“We don’t know if he had frost bite, or got into some scuffles with other animals.”
Ozzy now gets to follow along with Marie to the office from time to time, lest he once again get the urge to bolt.
“It’s good to keep an eye on him, and he doesn’t bother anyone,” she said.
“My colleagues are happy to see him back too. They’ve been with me since the beginning of the ordeal, so it’s sort of a happy ending for everyone.”