Substitute Groundhog?

I understand that today, February 2, is Groundhog Day. I hear a lot of people talking about it, but it doesn’t mean much to me. I don’t know what a groundhog is or why it should have a special day! We have all kinds of hogs in Texas. The 4H kids raise market hogs that they show at the County Fair. There are feral hogs that roam the countryside and tear up farmers fields. Some people like to hunt them. I hear a lot about those kinds of hogs. But I don’t think that any of those hogs live underground. They just dig up the ground!

In my search for understanding, I came across a really nice little book that was just up my alley, as they say! It’s called Substitute Groundhog. It was written by a Texas lady, Pat Miller and illustrated by Kathi Ember. It was published by Albert Whitman & Co. in 2006.


The story is about a poor groundhog who gets sick right before his big day that he’s supposed to come out of his hole! Dr. Owl tells him that he needs to stay in bed for 2 days. So Groundhog decides to advertise for a substitute groundhog. All kinds of critters apply for the job — Mole and squirrel and bear and eagle. But none of them have just the right qualifications. Along comes a strange creature who happens to be visiting from Texas! That’s right — Texas! To save the day!

IMG_0842And that strange creature is Armadillo!! Now I know all about Armadillos! They live right here in the 7 Acre Wood. Underground. They usually come out at night, not during the day when they would see their shadow. But I can see that an Armadillo would make a good substitute for poor, sick Groundhog! And so he does! And you’ll have to read the book yourself to see what happens in the end!

I hear that Mr. Phil, the official Groundhog, didn’t see his shadow today and that’s supposed to be a good thing.


I DID see my shadow today and for me that’s a good thing! It’s a glorious day here in Texas! I hope y’all have one, too!

If you’ve never seen an Armadillo, here’s a little video of one in his hole! Does he see his shadow? Of course he does! He’s in Texas!

Play With Your Dog!!

Wednesdays are Detention Center nights! Joy,Joy! One of my favorite events! These are pretty special guys at this place. They’re learning all the right ways to take care of a dog and train us by being nice to us. I like that part. The being nice to us means lots of petting and brushing and treats! Usually we spend time playing games and doing training exercises. But tonight the boys made tug toys! Braided fleece tug toys!


And it would be nice if all these toys were for me! But all of these toys will be going to one of our local animal shelters. When a dog is adopted it will get to go to its new home with a nice, soft, boingy tug toy. Isn’t that nice of these boys?!

Now we might not have gotten to bring the toys home with us, but we did get to try some of them out. We had to make sure they could pass the real dog test. More JOY!


And of course all the toys passed!


You do know that you should be playing with your dogs?! Playing with your dog is a JOYful activity! For you and your dog!

I’d like to share a couple of books with you that might get your creative playfulness jumping.

The 1st book is Play With Your Dog by Pat Miller. Published by Dogwise Publishing in 2008. Ms Miller is a renowned trainer who has written many books about training. In this book she talks about dogs and play. She believes that playing with your dog helps to build a strong relationship between the two of your. Play also helps to develop social skills and provides mental and physical exercise. Play With Your Dog has chapters on what play is to a dog, body language dogs use when playing, types of play — dog/dog play and human/dog play. Ms Miller talks about children playing with dogs and how NOT to play with a dog. There are quite a few references at the end. All in all, this is a very fine book!


The 2nd book is See Spot Sit by one of the Mom Person’s favorite, favorite writers Carol Lea Benjamin. Published by Skyhorse Publishing in 2008. This is kind of a picture book dog training manual. The subtitle is 101 Illustrated Tips for Training the Dog You Love. Now doesn’t that sound fine?!  The chapters include — How to Have a Happy Dog, Good Manners Last a Lifetime, The ABCs of Dog Training, PLAY it Safe, and Good Times, Fun, and Games. The book is full of happy illustrations that make this a fun book to read for anyone.

So I think you should check these books out and go have some fun with your dog!!

And here are some links if you want to make your own tug toys!

How to Weave a Braided Tug Toy from HGTV
Michael Rosen