Maine’s unofficial slogan, “The Way Life Should Be,” is so appropriate. Life in the Pine Tree State, while not perfect, is, to me, far closer to perfect than anywhere else I’ve lived.

I retired here because I knew from 40-plus years of vacationing with family and friends that life in this beautiful, slower-paced state would give me the opportunity to enjoy my golden years the way life, indeed, should be.

It is everything for which I had hoped. I love the gardening season, the splendor of autumn and the snows of winter that have given me the opportunity to take up snowshoeing for the first time. The beaches, the rocky coast, the friendly people. Glorious!

My neighborhood is replete with foxes, turkeys, a vast variety of birds – just the things that make my life the way I want it to be. But a porcupine at my front door was a surprise, especially when my hound walked right up to it in the dark before I noticed it. It seems that Needles the porcupine had taken up semi-permanent residence in the front yard! He (she? I wasn’t going to check) appeared to be uninterested in dogs or people. Needles was small for a porcupine, and was too busy foraging for whatever food he could find to think about quilling anyone. This was a good thing, for quills were not part of my dream of the way life should be.

A communal decision was made not to attempt trapping him in a Havahart trap, and so he became the neighborhood mascot of sorts. Although most often seen in my yard, Needles would sometimes mosey around to visit others, even being spied up a tree a few times.

We were rather worried about him because he didn’t look very healthy. Emails and text messages multiplied as everyone pondered if we could help him in any way. Calls to several agencies yielded no results.


Then one day our most wildlife-loving friend spotted him in her yard, looking scruffier than ever. He was missing a lot of quills and looking sick, so she and her husband courageously and lovingly scooped the critter up with a plastic bin and took him to the Center for Wildlife, where he’d be cared for.

Great relief was felt by all, until, upon returning home, the couple spotted another porcupine near where Needles had been. Uh-oh!

After comparing pictures various folks had taken of Needles, debate ensued about whether or not it had in fact been Needles who had been captured. It appears that “my” porcupine was not the only one to have taken up residence in our section of Wells.

Is Needles the one now at the Wildlife Center, or is that a relative? Are there others of the extended porcupine family lurking about? Will I ever see Needles again? Stay tuned.

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