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ODESSA, Texas (FOX 24) – The power outages have been difficult for people as well as their pets.  Meet a local family with a rare animal, a leopard tortoise.

They talk with us about how they’re making the best of the cold temperatures even inside their home.

“My thermostat was showing it was about 46 degrees inside the house even with the fire going,” said Shaun Sessa, Odessa resident.

Sessa was concerned for his family and for his animals he considers family as well.  They have a leopard tortoise called Tiny.  He’s 8-years-old.

“Pretty important because if they don’t get warm, they have a higher chance of dying,” said Elisha Sessa, Odessa resident.

“He means the world to our family,” said Rosa Beatty, Odessa resident. “Our tortoise is a grassland tortoise from Africa and over there it doesn’t get this cold.”

“Anytime it’s below about 60 degrees, he’s in trouble,” said Shaun Sessa.

Making him even more special is that he came from a loved one.

“He came from somebody really important in our family,” said Beatty.

He came from Elli’s godmother. She passed away from ovarian cancer. They say Tiny helps to keep her memory alive.

There’s lots of love to go around in the Sessa family, Cupcake and Muffin, the family’s two dogs are just as spoiled.

“If you’re going to be a pet owner, be a pet owner.  When you take care of a living creature, you’re responsible for it,” said Shaun Sessa.  “If that’s something you’re not willing to do, then think of the consequences before you do it.”

The family hopes Tiny will live on for generations to come, a leopard tortoise can live to be around 100 years old.

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