Paul Stotts

“Feelgood story of the year: Saving the groundhogs through relocation in a small town” By Paul Stotts

One of my all time favorite things to do is spend time with animals. I love all things animals, from fish, to dogs, (not so much cats… small cats that is, nothing against cat people though, just not for me. I do love leopards though) lizards, to birds and ferrots.
For the longest time, I stayed current with a subscription to my home town newspaper in Hutchinson, Kansas. A few years ago I ran across an article that will always stick with me. I want to share it here with you, as it spoke to the kindness that is found only in a smaller Kansas town I called home for the longest.
Some of you from rural areas may know what I’m talking about when I say “magical kingdoms of underground groundhogs towns.”(try saying that five times fast.) If your from the city and don’t know what I’m talking about, google it… because it’s truely magical the way these little guys work together in their community.
In Hutchinson, Kansas there used to be a very large field that was filled with a flurishing groundhog community. I can remember seeing the fluffy little fellas, standing straight and tall on two feet, on lookout from their dens every time we drove past this stretch of the highway. Ever since my family moved to this town, it was one of the enjoyable sight seeing memories I have riding in the car.
A few years ago, as our town has expanded, the land the ground hogs were living under went up for construction for a new business. Being a small town, the community was consurned with what would happen to these groundhogs that had called this spot home for so long.
Someone in the community was able to get a group of volunteers together, formulate a plan, and come up with a solution to relocate the groundhogs. The idea was pure genious!!!! A truck was brought in that pump soap suds into the holes, flushed out the groundhogs (as they always have a second emergency escape route… incase of snakes I imagine… or in this case soap suds) and caught them using nets when they came running out the other end.
Talk about a fun day!!! Can you imagine being out with this group, laughing, running around with a net trying to catch groundhogs with your friend pumping soap suds into the other end of a hole. I’ve been in prison a long time, I’ve found a few ways to have good clean fun in here… but I’m telling you, I can’t wait to make it out of here!!! Sign me up for the next groundhog relocation!!! It’s times like this that sound like the fun times of a lifetime to me!!! Now that is living life to the fullest, it would be for me!!!!!
I loved this story!!! It was much deserving of “The Feel-good Story Of The Year,” if there ever was one!!! Wouldn’t you agree? I remember writing a letter to a friend of mine shortly after I read this story. In the letter I told of how I’ve always invishioned moving to a large city when I leave prison. I told my friend now I’m kinda thinking twice if I would want to move to a large city. I think it’s only in a smaller city that you would read of a story like this. If we were in LA, or Chicago, or Dallas, and a new construction sight was going up, would they take the time to save the groundhogs? I think this is a story you’ll only find in a city like Hutchinson, Kansas… the town I’m proud to call my home for much of my life pre-prison.
I hope this tale of community, of small town life, and of comassion sticks with you and brings a warm feeling as it did for me. Keep a smile and pass along incouragment when your able. Best wishes to you until next time.

Paul Stotts
DOC #93319

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