Cat Vs. Woodchuck: Take Two

The hole that saved his life

This story needs a cute hand drawn comic to go with it. But considering that this time of year is all hands on deck with digging and planting and now bunny care, the words will have to do.

Last evening the sun finally broke through the spell of cold, dreary days and Galileo and I were out in the field. I was digging a new bed while he sat under the crabapple, seeming to stare at the back of the woodchuck mound. He was there for quite a while, sitting perfectly still, and then he disappeared. I suspected the woodchuck had something to do with it but I didn't hear anything. I called for him. He didn't come. I finished my row (it was the last one for the night!) and then walked down past the front of the woodchuck mound calling for Galileo. This saved the woodchucks life.

Galileo turned to look at me. The woodchuck, who Galileo had cornered at the edge of the old garden, away from his numerous holes, made a terrified mad dash for it, running at full speed right toward me. I was standing directly in front of his main borrow hole, but fortunately for him he had made a new hole, that goes vertically straight up and pops out in between a bunch of roses that are in a bed a few feet higher than the rest of the garden. At a full tilt he jumped up and then dived right down into the hole. It was quite a sight! I am relieved that Galileo did not kill the woodchuck, who has only eaten two sickly plants so far, literally sparing all of the healthy ones (out of 80 or so pea plants he ate a sickly one that really had no chance and out of all my potted plants he only ate the one that I thought was a goner). While the groundhog could certainly give Galileo a fight what with his claws, based on Galileo's nonchalant attitude and the groundhog's terror they know who's who. Also, after seeing the groundhog run at full speed, it is quite clear that in addition to being deviously stealthy, Galileo is a lot faster. My hope is that this dance does not end in a dead woodchuck, but rather a smart woodchuck. One who spends his time out in the fields (he has a few holes out there, too!) rather than in my garden or orchard. I am also a little proud that the cat is a good deterrent and contender for woodchuck pest control (there were doubters out there!). Surely a dog could do no better. I have yet to see one with the patience of a cat. Galileo was outside with that woodchuck for a long time before he made his move, waiting for the woodchuck to be content enough to travel just a little further from his holes than he should have. Galileo has killed at least two rabbits (in Burlington) that were larger than the groundhog (shhh... don't tell the bunnies). Those he dragged into the house and tossed high - almost to the ceiling - over and over again. Now that should have been a YouTube video. I am glad that my paranoia (what if Galileo is in the woodchuck hole and he dies or gets hurt!?) prevented the same scene with the groundhog.

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