The Animal Health Care Center located at 5211 El Verano Ave., near the Eagle Rock Plaza, is a small animal clinic that offers non-emergency veterinary services. It’s also home to Sleeping Beauty, an 11-year-old sulcata tortoise from Africa’s Sahara desert that belongs to Dr. Lisa Hsuan, the clinic’s attending veterinarian.
Dr. Lisa, as the veterinarian is fondly referred to, brought Sleeping Beauty to the clinic about a year ago, when she assumed ownership of what was previously called the Plaza Pet Clinic, according to clinic receptionist Crystal Rodriguez.
Sleeping Beauty has been with Dr. Lisa for the past four years, when she adopted the male tortoise. "They are usually purchased at pet stores as babies, then given up when their care becomes more involved," Dr. Lisa told Eagle Rock Patch. "These animals are wonderful pets, but do require a lot of care." She added: "Hundreds are available for adoption in the LA area—please rescue one if you're interested, instead of purchasing one at a pet store."
The “beloved hospital pet,” as Sleeping Beauty is referred to in a sign at the veterinary hospital, lives in an enclosed space in the rear of the hospital. Sleeping Beauty is mostly fed hay, although he does occasionally get some romaine lettuce. “Because they come from Africa, they’re used to a [dry] hay diet,” said Rodriguez of the tortoises, adding: “We bring [Sleeping Beauty] in during the rain and when it gets cold.”
Visitors to the pet hospital are welcome to see and touch Sleeping Beauty, although they’re asked not to feed him.
“We watch his diet very carefully,” says the sign at the hospital. “He loves his weekly soaking baths and enjoys the company of our boarding dogs.”
Eagle Rock resident Tim Ryder sent us these photos of a Sleeping Beauty. We hope you enjoy them—and venture out see the tortoise some day. Remember not to take any snacks.