Growin' Dog Hay

Most Know About Groundhog Day

The actual origin of Groundhog Day dates back many centuries. Some German farmers began to claim that the hedgehog could predict the arrival of spring, and Germans who immigrated to Pennsylvania continued that tradition. Because groundhogs were more plentiful in the Keystone State, they switched from hedgehogs to groundhogs.

In February, the male groundhog emerges from its burrow to look for a mate. After mating, it returns to the burrow until March. Groundhogs are also called woodchucks and sometimes "whistle pigs" because they whistle during mating season and when frightened. The scientific name is Marmota monax.

Groundhog Day was first celebrated at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on February 2, 1887. According to tradition, if a groundhog comes out of its burrow on this day and sees its shadow, it gets scared and runs back into the burrow, predicting six more weeks of winter weather. If it doesn't see it's shadow, spring will come early. The tradition caught on after a newspaper editor belonging to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Hunter's Club declared that Phil, the Punxsutawney groundhog, was America’s only true weather-forecasting groundhog.

The 1993 movie Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray popularized the custom and thousands of people converge on Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney every February to witness Phil’s prediction. The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club hosts a three-day celebration featuring entertainment and activities.

Groundhogs are not well loved by many home owners and farmers because they often burrow under sheds and other structures to hibernate and raise their little ones. When they come out in Spring, they also ravage vegetable gardens.

Growlin' Dog Hay

In 2014, a couple of dog trainers for The Seeing Eye began to wonder if their well-trained dogs could predict the winner of the Super Bowl game. Thus began a tradition that resulted in two correct and two incorrect forecasts to date. On February 1, 2018 two Seeing Eye Dogs predicted a win for the New England Patriots, but the Philadelphia Eagles won. You can watch a YouTube video of this event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGCrCpM3Q74 According to my observations, The Seeing Eye Dogs have a good chance of beating Punxsutawney Phil's meteorological forecasting record.

Most people don't want to wait until February to know when spring will arrive. Ideally it would be good to know by Christmas so we can begin planning our garden work and vacations. The Seeing Eye Puppy Raisers have developed a method of forecasting Punxsutawney Phil's prediction of spring's arrival up to three months early. Our method is based on the superior noses of our puppies, which are fine-tuned to detect good stuff (edibles) and bad stuff (cat poop). We first considered calling our invention " Punxsutawney Prediction Forecaster" but finally settled on "Growlin' Dog Hay." Growlin' Dog Hay comes packaged in a box and is available from The Seeing Eye Puppy Raisers and participating pet stores from November through January. This also makes a nice Christmas gift for your dog.

Instructions are included and very simple. You first put a leash on your dog and have someone hold it firmly. Next, remove the contents of the box (hay) and place it on the ground with the dog watching your every move. It may tug at the leash and usually begin to growl or whine to get away. On a signal, the dog is unleashed and will immediately run to thoroughly investigate the hay. If the Dog loses interest and walks away, then the Groundhog will see its shadow on February 2nd and there will be six more weeks of winter. If the Dog discovers a milk bone in the hay, the Groundhog will not see its shadow and spring arrives early.

Growlin' Dog Hay costs only $5.95 per box and is reusable. Placing a milk bone in the hay is optional, but this must be provided by the dogs owner. This is much less expensive than driving to Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, and the dog's prediction is just as accurate as Punxsutawney Phil's.

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This was my suggestion for a fund raiser for Seeing Eye Puppy Raisers. If puppy raiser groups are interested, we could order boxes. They would only need to be assembled and filled with hay. We can ask pet stores if they would sell them on commission (or perhaps just to help TSE). This must of course be approved by The Seeing Eye in Morristown, NJ!

The above information can be printed on an information sheet and offered free to prospective customers as well as those who purchase a box. I think pet owners would enjoy demonstrating it to their friends and the dogs would be happy to cooperate!

Ralph V Harvey