This article appeared in the September 26, 2022 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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Pond life: Shoebert the seal and the delights of a New England vacation

Beverly Police Department
Shoebert, a 4-year-old gray seal, waddled up to the police department in Beverly, Massachusetts, on Sept. 23, 2022, after spending time in a nearby pond and becoming a local celebrity.
Peter Grier
Washington editor

Sometimes you just have to get away from daily life. You’re desperate to be somewhere new and exciting.

Even if you’re a seal, and your exotic getaway is a pond next to a parking lot in suburban Boston.

Enter Shoebert. The 4-year-old gray seal apparently crawled up a drainage pipe from the ocean, into a restful resort in Beverly, Massachusetts, named Shoe Pond.

Entranced locals loved him. They quickly dubbed him Shoebert. That’s better than the scientific name for his species, which translates from the Latin as “hooked-nose pig of the sea.”

A T-shirt store started selling Shoebert merchandise. An ice cream shop concocted a special dish in his honor. City Council Chair Julie Flowers announced at a meeting that Shoebert had “brought Beverly together in an exciting way.”

But vacations don’t last forever. Particularly when your natural habitat is rocky saltwater shores. Animal control officials began trying to corral Shoebert late last week. They wanted him out of the pond before it freezes. 

They couldn’t catch him. Perhaps he wasn’t ready for the party to end.

Then Friday he crawled out and slithered about 300 yards over a lawn and an asphalt lot to the Beverly police station.

“Thank you Shoebert for having faith in the BPD,” said the Beverly Police Department in a Facebook post.

The gray seal was corralled in an animal carrier without incident and transported to Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut. Researchers there discovered he had been rescued and tagged once before, for facial injuries. 

His future plans are unknown. Likely he’ll be returned to the cold waters of the North Atlantic. Then perhaps he’ll work on a memoir. Doesn’t he sound like a children’s book?

This article appeared in the September 26, 2022 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 09/26 edition
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