Wild animals have a strange way of finding themselves in some pretty unlucky scenarios. When their curiosity gets the best of them, unfortunate things can happen, and their only hope for rescue is to be seen by a human friend.
Unfortunately, help often arrives too late. Just take what happened to this woodchuck, who was badly injured in the backyard of a family’s home for three days. When someone finally spotted her, they assumed the worst.
But when they tried to retrieve her with a shovel, she moved ever so slightly. Turns out, that was only the beginning of her journey…
It should come as no surprise that animals are capable of finding themselves in some rather precarious situations. Whether they’re looking for food or their curiosity just gets the best of them, they always seem to find themselves in perilous positions.
Often, these dangerous situations require outside assistance from their human friends. That’s exactly what happened in the case of one family who spotted a wild woodchuck lying in their backyard. The critter wasn’t moving, and the family assumed the worst…
Deciding it was a good idea to retrieve the creature, the family attempted to scoop her up with a shovel. But as they touched the seemingly deceased animal, she suddenly began to move! And that’s when they realized it wasn’t too late after all…
When the family initially spotted the woodchuck, they thought they were going to have to find somewhere to bury her. But once they realized she was still alive, they immediately contacted a local wildlife rehabilitator named Molly Ryan.
The family had made a wise decision in contacting Molly, who had worked tirelessly for years to rehabilitate many critters back to health—including woodchucks. She was more than willing to help, and she knew just what to do.
Molly wasted no time getting to work bringing the injured critter, whom she named Coco, back to health. “The first thing I had to do was get her stabilized on fluids to rehydrate her and get her body temp back to normal,” she told The Dodo in an interview.
While the woodchuck was lying motionless in the back yard, she had been susceptible to attacks by other animals. Molly quickly noted a series of cuts and bruises she assumed were caused by wild birds.
“While Coco was in the 90-degree heat of that yard, birds had started to come down and peck at her head, so once she was stabilized, I started looking at the wound on her head,” Molly explained. “Every step of the painful cleaning and poking with needles, she was sweet as could be.”
In addition to the scrapes and bruises, Molly noted the woodchuck was extremely malnourished. From that point forward, it became a multi-week struggle to get Coco to gain any weight or strength at all.
Molly continued to monitor Coco’s progress several times during the day. She would even get up twice in the middle of the night to check in and see how the little woodchuck was doing. That’s when she realized something unique about her…
In order to keep a closer eye on Coco, Molly decided to let her sleep in bed with her. While she assumed the animal might not take kindly to her practice, she was pleasantly surprised to learn that the little woodchuck loved to cuddle!
Soon, it became Coco who sought the comfort of Molly every night. “She would snuggle up right by me and make sure part of her body was touching me all night,” Molly recalled, referring to the snuggly woodchuck.
Of course, Molly’s goal was to nurse Coco to health and release her back into the wild where she belonged. When she finally felt she was ready, she tried to set her free—and that’s when she learned yet another special thing about her tiny friend.
Molly noticed something seemed off with Coco’s eyes, and she instantly became concerned about releasing her back into the wild. “I noticed she held her eyes at half-mast or sometimes not open at all,” she told reporters.
That’s when the truth about Coco was revealed. “She would start walking, and then start walking a bigger and bigger circle, until she was in a straight line again. I had a hunch so took her to the vet to verify: Yes, Coco was blind.”
Molly knew she couldn’t just release Coco back into the wild; she would obviously struggle to survive all on her own. And so, after little consideration, the blind woodchuck became a permanent member of the family!
Soon, Molly realized she could use her furry friend for a greater good. Not long after, she began to employ Coco as a service animal, and she brought her around to educate people about the dos and don’ts of handling wild animals.
Since being rescued, Coco seamlessly became a staple of Molly’s home. Even though she was blind, she managed to get acclimated to her surroundings, often walking in circles until she could successfully navigate her surroundings.
As Molly continued to nurse other ailing animals back to health, she found that Coco was working alongside her to bring them some comfort. Often, she could be found cuddling with the ones who were in the rehabilitation process!
Snuggling was definitely Coco’s favorite hobby, and luckily, Molly was happy to oblige. “There is nothing that makes getting out of bed harder than having to leave a gently snoring round fluffball of snuggling woodchuck,” she said. Ain’t that the truth!
If it wasn’t for Molly’s dedication, there’s a good chance Coco wouldn’t have gotten the proper care she needed. Thankfully, they’re going to live happily ever after.
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