Saskatchewan

Grouchy groundhog emerges from sock drawer to make Sask. spring and Grey Cup predictions

Woody the Woodchuck from Whelan Bay 'likes to sleep' and needed rousing for his annual day of work.

'He likes to sleep and normally he wouldn't be up,' says Woody the Woodchuck's caregiver

Woody the Woodchuck finished his annual day of work on Friday. (Submitted by Richard Burton)

Saskatchewan's unofficial weather-predicting woodchuck served up his forecast on this year's Groundhog Day — one which could have been his last.

Woody the Woodchuck from Whelan Bay, located about 250 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon, didn't see his shadow on Friday, according to his caregiver, which could indicate an early spring.

"He was pretty grouchy, but I got him up. He likes to sleep and normally he wouldn't be up," said Richard Burton, caregiver for Woody the Woodchuck.

He added that his wife Shanno typically wakes the rodent from its bed in their sock drawer.

Woody stood in the front room of Burton's home at sunrise but didn't see his shadow. (Submitted by Richard Burton)

Groundhogs are also known as woodchucks.

Burton said Woody hasn't been wrong in predicting spring the four years he's lived with them, so that means eight more weeks of winter in Saskatchewan. Woody also predicts the Roughriders will go to the Grey Cup.

A celebratory meal

Although Woody used to enjoy a marshmallow or two as a special treat, he was recently diagnosed with diabetes and an abscess lymph node by a veterinarian at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon.

Burton and Woody the Woodchuck enjoy an apple together. (Submitted by Richard Burton)

Burton and his wife noticed his coat didn't feel right so they took him to the vet.

"It actually probably saved Woody's life, otherwise there probably wouldn't have been a Groundhog Day here for him," he said.

According to Burton, the groundhog is now a full vegetarian so on Groundhog Day, instead of sweets, Woody was allowed a few extra of his new favourite food — almonds.

Woody's origin story

Woody and Toesey spend most days hanging out in the front room. (Submitted by Richard Burton)

On the way home from work one day four years ago, Burton said he spotted a "tiny ball of fluff" in distress on the side of the road. Naturally, he rescued it.

"He waddled around the house for a while and just never wanted to leave," he said.

He said Woody and Toesey, the six-toed family cat, have become best friends. The two spend most days on the couch basking in the sunshine.

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