Tango and I went for a walk at the West Macon Track yesterday. He was off leash and a few feet ahead of me, sniffing everything in true dog manner. Suddenly he jumped back and I knew from past experiences that he had found something more interesting than an odor. I quickly gave the command for him to “Get in” which he reluctantly obeyed. Snapping on the leash we went forward to see Tango’s discovery which I thought was probably a turtle since we frequently find them at WMT. Imagine my surprise when I saw a groundhog!
I have never seen a groundhog before except for the legendary Punxsutawney Phil, that poor groundhog in Pennsylvania that gets paraded out every year on Groundhog Day and gets televised for providing a pseudo weather forecast. Groundhogs hibernate and Phil, in my opinion, always has that look of someone who has been dragged out of a nice warm bed. I know they have to fill air-time but has anyone from the SPCA ever looked into just how Phil is treated?
Well, I digress. An honest-to-God groundhog no more than 20 feet in front of me was a new experience and, from the groundhog’s reaction, the same may have been true for him/her. We spent some time eyeing each other. Tango was straining to get at it which seemed like a really bad idea given those front incisors that could clearly take a bite out of an Australian Shepherd. Once I managed to get Tango controlled I grabbed my iPhone and took some pictures. It obligingly posed although, in retrospect, perhaps it was just reluctant to take any action with that dog in sight.
Groundhogs are also known as whistle-pigs, a really charming moniker. Their burrows can be up to 46 feet in length and have several entrances. I think this one had an entrance on that hillside because once we moved on just a few steps I looked back and it had quickly disappeared.
Long-time friends are aware that the groundhog has a special niche in my life. My late husband, Robert, was a devotee of Groundhog Day and each year he sent Groundhog greetings to our many friends. They became almost legendary and I still hear from friends on Groundhog Day who remember Robert and miss his always interesting missives of February 2nd. He would have been as enthralled with this discovery as I was. Groundhogs rock!
So, good luck to you whistle-pig. Live long and prosper. ❧
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