I think that I shall never see
A woodchuck quite as dear as thee.
For you’re my first, so very wee,
And everything you do thrills me.
Little eyes so keen in sight,
Too-large paws that grip so tight.
Coat of blonde, all glossy bright;
Whinnies that call out at night.
For such a tiny beast your strength
Surpasses expectation’s length.
And yet you’re not the least bit mean,
Indeed, it is towards me you lean.
I am the one to give the milk
So needed by your tiny ilk.
To this you give your mighty all
And suck in fervent, lip-smack thrall.
When you nurse with pleasure clear,
‘Tis milk you really hold most dear.
Throes of nursing bliss you ride,
Until at last you’re satisfied.
Then with little grunts and sighs
You snuggle down and close your eyes.
You seem to know, as Nature’s wise,
Against the odds you’ve won the prize.
‘Tis by the love and care we give
You have this second chance to live.
Yes, we find ourselves head over heels in love here with a woodchuck (aka groundhog, aka “whistle pig” and formally known as Marmota monax). I have always wanted the opportunity to raise one and was thrilled when, at long last, this wee orphan made her way into our lives last spring. But as she grew it became more and more apparent that our pride named “Joy” was, as we fondly put it, “just not quite right”. From a period of strangely deformed toes then later odd little spots on the soles of her feet to her decidedly anti-woodchuck appetites the clues just kept on coming that there was likely good reason she was found wandering on her own without a mother nearby and so it appears she is destined to earn her keep as an educational ambassador.
And it seems to suit her just fine.