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California Woman’s Viral Friendship: 22 Years with the Christmas Tortoise Pal

Friendships that last a lifetime are really special, right? Well, Caitlin Doran from California has one of those incredible friendships with Tiptoe, her African tortoise pal. She got Tiptoe as a Christmas gift 22 years ago, and their friendship not only stood the test of time but also became famous online. People everywhere feel connected to their heartwarming story.

Caitlin Doran: A Californian’s Dream of a Unique Pet Fulfilled with Tiptoe (Caitlin Doran/@caitlinandtiptoe)

When Caitlin was a kid, she loved unique animals and wished for a buddy to make memories with. At 7, she asked Santa for an African tortoise, and guess what? Her wish came true, kicking off a fantastic friendship that’s lasted for decades.

Tiptoe started as a tiny tortoise but is now a whopping 175-pound reptile. Caitlin and Tiptoe live in busy Los Angeles, figuring out how to navigate city life. Despite Tiptoe’s size, they take regular walks in Caitlin’s neighborhood, making people happy. Tiptoe has become a conversation starter, bringing folks from all walks of life to say hello.

Christmas Magic: Caitlin Doran’s Tiny Hand-Sized Gift Turns into Tiptoe the Tortoise (Caitlin Doran/@caitlinandtiptoe)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Caitlin introduced Tiptoe to her TikTok followers for some entertainment during quarantine. What began as a spoof of food prep videos turned into a viral hit, with 12.4 million views! For three years, Caitlin has been creating fun content for her growing audience. Some videos are planned, while others capture Tiptoe’s daily life. Tortoises can be tricky to direct, so Caitlin goes with the flow, creating new recipes for her pet, from tacos to charcuterie boards.

Three Years of Tiptoe Tales: Caitlin Doran’s TikTok Journey Revealing Tiptoe’s 175-Pound Diet (Caitlin Doran/@caitlinandtiptoe)

Sharing their journey online, Caitlin found a community of like-minded tortoise lovers. This “tortoise community” supports each other, sharing tips on caring for their unique pets. The positivity online is a breath of fresh air compared to the negativity usually found on the internet. Through Tiptoe, Caitlin discovered a place where kindness and acceptance rule.

Caitlin Doran’s TikTok Adventures: Cooking Up Delightful Treats for Tiptoe the Tortoise (Caitlin Doran/@caitlinandtiptoe)

Taking care of a big and long-lived pet like Tiptoe has its challenges. Caitlin knows keeping up with his growth and aging means adjusting their living arrangements. Despite the hurdles, she stays committed to Tiptoe, cherishing the lessons he teaches. One big lesson? The value of slowing down in life. In a world that loves speed, Tiptoe showed Caitlin the importance of taking it easy.

Doran and Tiptoe: Internet Stars with 4.5 Million Followers and 10 Million Viewed Snack Sessions (Caitlin Doran/@caitlinandtiptoe)
Tiptoe’s Neighborhood Strolls: Joining Caitlin Doran on Leisurely 40-Minute Walks (Caitlin Doran/@caitlinandtiptoe)


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