Part of our daily routine was visiting the burrow of Old Grumpus the gopher tortoise. Grumpus was a mighty good sized critter, standing nose to nose with a West Highland Terrier and about twice as wide. I am not sure what he lived on, but he lived well, it was obvious.
At least once a day Billy would head canalward and nudge the entrance of Grumpus' hole. Occasionally we would get a leg or a tail, but usually a tortoise nose emerged in greeting, before shrinking back into the sand.
This day we made an early morning visit, not our usualy routine, but Billy insisted. He was straining and pulling on his leash as we neared the burrow, again, not normal Billy behaviour.
Even from a distance, I could see deep trenches where tires had piled sandy soil in hillocks. I couldn't tell where exactly the burrow should be, but Billy knew. He nosed and pawed but made no effort to dig. His friend wasn't there. We never saw Old Grumpus again.