Baby woodchuck’s road trip to new home

Dan Sutton was reviewing new pet shipment listings when a very distinct one popped up: “Baby Woodchuck/Groundhog, Indiana to Killeen, TX.” Intrigued, he did a quick web search and placed a bid which won the load.

“I wanted to see what I’d be up against, and my research showed woodchucks are easygoing and make great pets,” said Sutton, who has been with CitizenShipper for three months. “I was excited, but didn’t know what to expect.”

So Sutton and Hannah, a four-pound, 11-week-old had a date for a late April drive to Texas. Hannah’s Indiana breeders had prepared some of her specialized feed and gave Sutton a short list of instructions to pass on to her new owner, an Armed Forces sergeant. The fact that he was able to help out a member of the military was important to Sutton.

“I like to help out military folks who need an animal brought to distant family or a new pet to a military family,” Sutton said. “They have a special place in my heart.”

Hannah, riding in her travel container fitted with a custom sunroof and stuffed with wood shavings and fresh straw, was loaded into Sutton’s car. There were dried apples in his pocket for times when Hannah was a good little woodchuck, and he was ready for the feeding schedule. There was just one problem: Hannah had never been handled by a male of any species, and the breeders were unsure how she’d react when being fed by Sutton.

But Hannah readily accepting feedings from Sutton, and the two became a team.

“She is a great traveler, and it was extremely easy to care for her,” he said. “Every now and then she’d stand up through the hole in the top and check things out. She was just really laid back.”

Hannah became such a fine sidekick that Sutton even snuck her into a hotel overnight, where she softly chirped herself to sleep. The next day, Hannah met her new mom at the Fort Hood Military Base, and Sutton drove home, having crossed out ‘Deliver Groundhog’ on his bucket list.

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