Amazon Shoppers: There has been considerable discussion about how to use amazon smile to benefit Prairie Dog Pals. If you use this link when you shop Amazon a portion of your purchase will benefit Prairie Dog Pals. The link is basically amazon smile + our tax number: http://smile.amazon.com/ch/85-0392843
AMARILLO – In December, we introduced you to Peanut the prairie dog.
He is one of the lovable and well-known rescues at Wild West Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Peanut is now officially off-the-market.
The same wit and charm that made him a favorite on social media has snagged him a companion.
When we first met Peanut, it was all about Cheerios and his new bachelor pad, but a lot has changed in two months.
Now it’s all about snuggles with his new boo.
Read more: PDs in love….
MEDICINE PARK Well, it was Groundhog Day, again – at least in some parts of the country.
In the cobblestone community, Punxsutawney Phil and his groundhog brethren were cast aside as false prophets bearers of untrue weather forecasts and fake news. Friday was not “Groundhog Day;” it was “Packrat Day.” Even Elmer Thomas Elmo and his prairie dog compatriots were not immune from scorn, as the Medicine Park Aquarium and Natural Sciences Center consulted its own prophesying prodigy rodent, Biscuit the Packrat, to determine whether Southwest Oklahoma would see six more weeks of winter or enjoy an early spring.
Doug Kemper, executive director, said Biscuit would not hold back against anyone who questioned her abilities or her standing as the portending packrat.
“Perhaps if they wanted to be taken more seriously, they could come out more often, instead of staying inside for the whole winter and only appearing after spring has arrived,” he said.
It was a cold, blustery and fairly wintry Friday morning when residents and delegates gathered at the aquarium to hear the prognostications of the packrat. When Chekhov saw the long winter, he saw a winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope. Yet we know that winter is just another step in the cycle of life. But standing among the people and basking in the warmth of their hearths and hearts, few could imagine a better fate.
Among the crowd was Mayor Jennifer Ellis, decked in a bright red coat and sparkling black top hat the true uniform of the master of ceremonies. She gave a short speech that emphasized the history of the holiday formerly known as Groundhog Day while espousing the foretelling nature of Biscuit’s talents. Phil may be the only true “groundhog forecaster,” but groundhog forecasters don’t have an impeccable track record. A packrat’s record is still pristine.
“At first, when Biscuit the Packrat first came to the Medicine Park Aquarium, the staff thought she was an ordinary southern plains packrat,” Ellis said. “However, after careful observation, we think Biscuit may have strange meteorological powers. Perhaps, Biscuit is able to predict future weather events. Or perhaps not.”
Biscuit, happily sheltered from the biting cold and blustery winds in a plastic ball, was plucked from a cardboard box and held up in the air for all gathered to see. The sun shone brightly overhead in the morning hours, but Biscuit claimed not to have seen a shadow. Perhaps it was the plastic diffusing the solar rays. Perhaps it was the poor eyesight of the packrat. Or perhaps Biscuit knew something no one else in attendance did that groundhogs cannot predict the weather and their methods are flawed. But the presumptuous packrat predicted an early spring no matter whether a shadow was spotted or not.
If you missed Kim Fundingsland’s amusing pondering “No groundhog for Minot” Friday, pick the issue back up or check it out online. Kim – awarded in 2017 by the North Dakota Newspaper Association for a humor column – takes on Punxsutawney Phil and Groundhog Day and suggested that we in Minot need our own psychic rodent. The only problem? Our region doesn’t have any! We have prairie dogs, but there is not a Prairie Dog Day and it isn’t the same critter anyway. Well Kim heard from readers who agreed that the community needs to find, support and create a whole new celebration around a local groundhog – or at least that it’s good in theory.
“While it does smack a bit of animal (or even people) cruelty – dragging a sleeping victim out of his quiet, warm, cozy den into the frigid Minot air (without so much as a hot cup of coffee), into the chaotic cacophony of a horde of raucous revelers creating an unconscionable amount of noise not conducive to a gentle awakening – the idea has some merit,” wrote Frances.
“Merit for what good purpose sadly escapes me.”
“However, should you carry on with this Quixotic quest for more Minot magic, we wish you full speed ahead. And if you are the courageous one destined to brave the claws and teeth of a grumpy rodent, underwhelmed at the prospect of immense popularity at the expense of a good winter’s sleep, we advise thick leather gloves – and remind you to make sure your shots are all up to date.”
“Yes! Bring on Magic City Melvin!” argued email writer Deb. “We do indeed have woodchucks in this area, at Long Lake for certain. I have seen them a couple of times there.
“I’d be in the crowd with a cup of hot coffee in hand, ready to welcome this little furry prognosticator! What fun to have our own local weather hero! ND residents certainly know the realities of winter here, but we are also an optimistic population that can look at the hopeful side (no matter how misguided), whether he sees his shadow or not!”
There are worse causes. If anyone has an idea how to get the needed support for our good friends at Roosevelt Park Zoo to adopt an honest-to-goodness groundhog around which we can launch a new holiday, drop Kim a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The exhibit would also feature plants and trees that are found in the Chihuahuan Desert.
Finally, the zoo would create exhibits for wolves, mountain lions, jaguars, thick-billed parrots, prairie dogs, reptiles and several other animals found in the desert.
Read more: El Paso