Lori Beel's dog, Thurston Howl

Lori Beel of Festus says her dog, Thurston Howl, is obsessed with turtles and his playthings, like this toy.

Lori Beel of Festus said her dog, Thurston Howl, is so fascinated with turtles, she has to protect the small creatures from him.

“When we’re outside in the yard, we have to pull him away from turtles. He starts to poke his nose at them," she said.

Thurston Howl, a redbone coonhound, will be 9 on Aug. 23.

He is obsessed with his playthings, too, said Beel, who captured him playing with one of his toys in this photo.

One of Thurston Howl's favorite playthings is a rock, which he apparently thinks is a turtle, Beel said.

“It’s a real rock he thinks is a real turtle, so he barks and scoots it around with his nose," she said. "Certain rocks have a certain smell that remind him of turtles, I guess.

”Thurston Howl has a strong personality, Beel said.

“He’s kind of stubborn,” she said. “He’s protective of our family. He’s kind of a big baby. He likes to be inside. He likes to be right by us.”

However, he generally warms up to people, Beel said.

“Once he sniffs you, he gets along with you fine.”

Beel said her family loves Thurston Howl.

“He’s an important part of our family,” she said.

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