The Cody family might not have expected they'd fall in love with the turtle they got from the pet store in Colorado.
Within weeks of adopting "Katrina", she was sleeping in bed with the kids. Katrina nuzzled her way into everyone's hearts and into just about every nook and corner of the Cody's backyard.
They named the family's go-kart racing team after her likeness and made her their mascot.
Fear the Turtle Racing turned into a championship team with the Cody's three kids behind the wheel, and Katrina's likeness on all their equipment.
In 2010, when the family made the move to Hickory, Katrina of course, came with them. Then one day, while the Cody's kids were playing in the yard with Katrina, the worst happened.
"Coleton was playing with her watching her real close and he got distracted by something, and he turned around and she was gone," said dad Eric.
The entire family was devastated. After weeks of searching, they couldn't find Katrina.
"I mean you've got these shirts and every time we look at anything with the race team you're reminded of her, it really was a part of us," Eric said.
The family had to move to a new house in Troutman and leave behind any hope of finding her.
After 19 months - the unthinkable happened.
"I saw [a turtle] standing down here and I thought 'He's going to get squished'," said Hickory Parks worker Trish Passman as she points to a spot in a parking lot where she found a lost turtle.
Trish picked it up, and found it had a dog tag attached to a small hole in its shell.
"It was a heart-shaped dog collar and I saw the name said Katrina but I couldn't get it scraped off good," said Trish.
She was finally able to read the number and after 19-months made a call the Cody family never expected to get. She left a message saying she found a turtle with a dog tag on it.
It was only hours before Eric told the kids to get in the car for a trip to Hickory to pick up some parts for the race team. The "parts" was actually crawling around in Trish's backyard.
"Is that Katrina?" said Allison Cody. "I went over there and picked her up and looked at her and I said, 'Yeah! It's Katrina'!"
Now safe back at her new home with her old family, Katrina doesn't go anywhere in the yard without someone's eyes on her. They've made a new family friend in Trish too.
Speaking of Trish, it's safe to say she got just as much enjoyment in finding the wayward turtle as the family did getting her back.
"I guess it's fate. Whoever gets a chance to find something that means that much to somebody?"
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