Sadly, we report the passing of Max the Gentle Giant Tortoise. He passed away on June 25 after a valiant four-month struggle with cancer. Max was a 25-year-old African Sulcata Tortoise and the inspiration for Tortoiseland, a tortoise rescue, started by Kevin Proulx when he found Max, abandoned and starving, at a pet store. The passing of Max is a huge personal loss for Proulx, but also for the community of friends and neighbors (and Buzz readers) who grew attached to this gentle creature.
About four months ago, Max stopped eating, a worrisome sign for any creature. Proulx told the Buzz he took Max to the Access Specialty Veterinary Hospital in Culver City, where doctors performed an MRI. Initially, they thought it was a bacterial infection and began treating Max, hoping he would recover. Max came home with a feeding tube to keep him fed and hydrated. Unfortunately, when his condition continued to deteriorate, Proulx took him back to the vets. After a second MRI, the doctors discovered that Max had inoperable cancer. Determined to celebrate his last days, Proulx organized several visits to the park with friends, including the video below documenting his last visit with human friends and several of Max’s children.
We met Proulx last summer when Buzz reader Mary Woodward introduced us. At the time, Proulx had just launched his YouTube series “The Tortoise Guy” to help educate people about tortoises. When he’s not rescuing tortoises, Proulx works as a film and video editor.
After taking some time to mourn Max’s passing and recover from his own surgery, Proulx put together the video below to celebrate Max’s amazing life and how he connected the humans in his life. It’s a lovely, heartfelt tribute. Warning, you may need a tissue or two after you watch it. We did.
“There was such an outpouring of love from friends and neighbors, from the GOFUNDME contributions, and from the doctors and staff at Access Animal Hospital,” Proulx told the Buzz. “TortoiseLand will continue and I still hope we can build a larger sanctuary someday, so keep watching The Tortoise Guy for fun NEW adventures! PLEASE help us pay for the huge medical expenses incurred by Max’s world-class care by donating and clicking here. Any contributions are so appreciated and the monies will also go toward help the other tortoises in TortoiseLand.”