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Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

peter the pet woodchuck's favorite food, 1915

thanks wikimedia (pd)
Back in the days when you would even see a wild woodchuck in the first place,* a little girl chucknapped a baby kit once.  He became a tubby and beloved pet with  a keen appreciation of baked goods, as we read below. . .

One day Dorothy's grandmother was baking, and as Peter trotted into the kitchen she handed him one of the cookies she had made. After smelling at it carefully, tasting it, and nibbling at it, he decided that it was good, and ate it, and from that time cookies were his favorite food. As soon as he heard the sound of dishes and pans or smelled the odor of baking he would scurry around to the kitchen door, sit on his haunches, and wait patiently until the desired cooky was given to him; then he would scamper off to some chosen spot, jumping in the air and whisking his stumpy tail in great glee as he ran. He would sit up on his haunches, hold the cooky in his paws, and nibble away at it like a squirrel with a nut, frequently cocking his head on one side and licking his chops in a most comical manner. 
As Peter was free to go and come as he pleased, he would often wander off to the woods near the farmhouse to spend the day, always returning at night. Finally, one bright day in October he failed to return and his mistress was almost heartbroken for fear that he had been killed or trapped, and all winter long she mourned her pet.One fine April morning as Dorothy and her grandfather were walking along the road she noticed a big red woodchuck sitting on a stump in a field. The little girl called her grandfather's attention to the animal, and asked him if he didn't think it looked "just like Peter." "Perhaps it is Peter," he replied. "Call him and see." Stepping close to the stone wall beside the road she waved her hands and called:
"Peter, Peter! Come here, Peter!" For a minute or two the big red woodchuck looked at the little girl with his head on one side and then, scrambling down from the stump, he came running across the field; sure enough it was Peter, safe and sound, and glad indeed to see his little mistress after his long winter sleep.
Dorothy was overjoyed at his return, and hugged and kissed him, and danced about, and Peter seemed to be fully as glad and delighted himself. He rubbed his nose against her, frisked about, and made queer, grumbling little barks in his throat. Peter was carried home in triumph, and was fed and petted enough to make up for all the time he had been away. That afternoon Dorothy's grandmother got out her baking tins and rolling-pin, and the moment that Peter heard the familiar sounds he started up, ran to the kitchen door, took his old place again and waited, begging for his cooky. He had not forgotten what baking day meant during his long sleep.
Verrill, A. Hyatt 1871-1954. (1915). Pets for pleasure and profit. New York: Scribner's Sons. 64-5.

*Seriously, have YOU ever seen one?  Me neither.


Bernadette said...

You probably see them all the time. They are also called groundhogs!

parlance said...

I don't expect to see one over here in Australia, but I do have a general idea of how much wood a woodchuck would chuck if he could chuck wood.