On the first hot day of the summer, Lauren Lynde and her husband took their 2-year-old golden retriever, Wally, to cool off. The family rowed their canoe out to one of the islands in Hickory Hills Lake in Lunenburg, Massachusetts, unaware they were about to have an unexpected encounter.
Wally loves to swim and once he jumps in the water, it’s almost impossible to get him out. “Usually, we’ll throw him sticks or his ball to chase, but he’ll also just swim around in circles by himself, which is really funny,” Lynde told The Dodo. “And he’s got a little shark life vest that he wears.”
Wally was paddling around in the lake when Lynde spotted something bobbing in the water nearby. At first, Lynde thought it was an otter or a large stick — then the mysterious object hopped on Wally’s back.
That’s when she realized the “stick” was actually a woodchuck.
“Me and my husband could not believe it,” Lynde said. “We were watching this transpire, and Wally just looked at the woodchuck, started swimming back to shore and the woodchuck hopped on his back. Wally did not care at all. He just looked over his shoulder a couple of times and kept swimming.”
Lynde couldn’t figure out why the woodchuck was out for a swim — perhaps he was just trying to cool off like everyone else.
Luckily, the only thing Wally loves as much as swimming is making new friends. “He loves every animal he encounters,” Lynde said. “He especially loves little kids and will give them a kiss right on the face when he sees them. He’s the sweetest dog ever and gets along with everybody.”
You can watch Wally and the woodchuck go for a swim here:
The woodchuck seemed grateful for the lift and made sure to thank Wally once they got to land.
“He hopped off Wally’s back a little before they got to shore, and they looked at each other and touched their snouts together, kind of like a goodbye,” Lynde said. “The woodchuck ran up on shore, they gave one last little look at each other and he scurried away while Wally went right back to swimming.”
“I honestly couldn’t believe it,” she added. “I was dumbfounded.”
Woodchucks are usually shy, but there was something about Wally that put the wild animal at ease.
“I think Wally just exudes goodness and maybe everyone can sense it,” Lynde said, “even the animals.