I am going to quote a true story that was printed in the SONrise newsletter from the Mountain View Conference of Seventh-day Adventists for December 2021.
The True Story of a “French Creek Freddy”
(The little groundhog who thought she was human)
“Harry named her Happy because it was my birthday (and hers). Happy would sleep with me every night around my neck. After about 12 days her eyes opened, and I was the first person she saw, so she thought she was human and I was her mother.
“When Happy was a few weeks old, she would come into the kitchen and grab me around my leg fussing for her bottle of milk. I would hand her the bottle and she would sit down and hold the bottle herself.
“Happy housebroke herself when she discovered the cats’ litter box in the laundry room. She loved to tear up magazines and newspapers but when she began to chew on electric wires, we knew we had a problem. We were afraid to leave her alone because of the electrical outlets and the damage she could do—maybe a fire would start from her chewing.
“My husband, Harry, was a conservation officer with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources for 38 years. He was a district captain at the French Creek office of the DNR, so we decided to give Happy to the game farm which was close to Harry’s office. At noon every day, Harry walked over to visit with Happy, giving her peanut butter cups which was her favorite candy.
“After three weeks, I decided to visit Happy at her new place, but I didn’t expect her to remember me. As soon as I walked into her large cage and sat on a log, Happy ran to me and jumped up on my lap. She talked to me in her loving groundhog sounds, cuddled in my arms. I didn’t understand her groundhog talk and she didn’t understand human talk, but we had bonded. She knew I was the one who raised her.
“When it was time for me to leave her, Happy wouldn’t let go of me so Harry had to pull her off so I could go through the gate. She ran to the fence crying after me. We could hear her crying and calling after we were completely out of sight. I wanted to turn back and bring her home, but we knew in time she would be better off where she was.
“I never went back to see Happy until she was grown and had a new name ‘French Creek Freddy.’ Harry would walk over every day to visit with Happy and take her peanut butter cups until he retired in 1988. Both of us visited with her after his retirement.
“Happy was treated like a queen for the rest of her life. She traveled in an air-conditioned cage to Jackson’s Mill, fairs, etc., as part of West Virginia wildlife.
“We only had Happy about three months, but we learned even a groundhog has feelings and is special. Jesus said there would be many animals on the new earth, so I hope to see Happy there and that she will recognize me, run to me, and jump into my arms. ‘For with God, nothing will be impossible’ (Luke 1:37).” — Jean Shaver.
Both Harry and Jean were members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Harry passed away in 2005; Jean is a member of the Buckhannon (W.Va.) Seventh-day Adventist Church.