I am a pretty self-reliant dog but I am having some difficulty finding a resolution to a problem my family and I are facing. We are dealing with a squatter on the property. I am not sure where we stand legally on how to make him leave. It’s a groundhog and he’s made his home underneath the shed in the backyard.
I was the first one to discover him about a year ago. It was early in the morning and I was outside taking care of business when all of a sudden he just popped out of a hole right in front of me. We both got the shock of our lives and by the time I knew what was happening, the little squirt was gone. I couldn’t even get his name but luckily I have an informant in the sky who told me that his name was Toby.
It took me forever to let me family know about him. When I would pick up his scent, I would ask to go outside. Sometimes this would be three times an hour. When they finally let me out, he would be long gone. I even got yelled at for being a pest! Can you believe the nerve?
Well, it was only a matter of time before Toby would blow his cover. I was counting on it. The tall furless male was the first in the family to notice the random holes in the yard. Although he didn’t say anything to anyone, I knew he knew something was amiss. It was then I really stepped up my game. The next day when I picked up Toby’s scent, the furless male finally followed me outside and spotted him. To his credit, the furless one apologized for giving me a hard time about trying to get him to follow me outside all those instances before. I have forgiven him because I love being right.
My informant has also told me that Toby has no plans to leave any time soon. I don’t like this because he’s now starting to dig holes in the yard that I have clearly marked off as my own. All I can do is to sit back and watch him from our back porch. He’s never said a word to me but we’ve had some epic staring contests all of which he has won (except that one time when that rabbit darted in front of us--classic rabbit behavior for you).
Roxie the Doxie
Dover, New Hampshire
My sincerest apologies to you but I am not able to give legal advice on this matter. State and local ordinances vary wildly on the right way to get rid of groundhogs so what may be legal in Ohio may not be legal where you are in New Hampshire. I don’t want any of my readers getting the wrong idea. Also, under no circumstances do I want you to approach Toby yourself. He could carry some gross diseases. Yuck.
But fear not Miss Roxie, I have a plan. The trick is that you have to make Toby want to leave. You also need to let him think that it was his idea in the first place. Are you smelling what I’m stepping here?
First, I am going to send you an mp3 player and speaker. This is not for playing music mind you. It will be pre-loaded with cat noises. I can guarantee Toby isn’t going to love this. You need to hide this under the back porch somehow and have it play at night. Loudly.
During the daytime, you will do something a little more radical. In your letter, you keep mentioning your ‘informant in the sky’. Clearly, you have an ‘in’ with our bird friends. Use this to your advantage. There is strength in numbers Miss Roxie. I have birds on the inside as well. They are ready to go and help you out. Be prepared because each dawn, your home will be visited by three hundred crows. They will not utter a sound and they will not engage Toby in the least. Their only job is to engage in the most epic staring contest of all time. I don’t care who you are, no one likes to be stared at by three hundred crows. It’s a bit unnerving.
Did you know that groundhogs are also known as whistle pigs in certain parts of the country? This is why I need you to whistle when you are in your yard. Pick any song you want but you need to whistle really slowly. A slowly, whistled tune can make any song sound creepy. If you can’t whistle, then learn. You need him to think that you are up to something.
My sincere hope that with the use of cat sounds, birds overhead, and your creepy whistling skills, Toby will be packing his bags and moving on out. They can be pesky little critters and hard to catch. Leave catching them to the professionals and your human pack. Good luck to you.