Woodchuck Climbs on Golden Retriever's Back and Hitches Ride Across Lake

A golden retriever going for a swim in a lake gave a woodchuck a ride back to the shore in an adorable video of an unlikely moment of friendship, as reported by WCVB-TV.

Wally the golden retriever was canoeing with his owner, Lauren Russell, at Hickory Hills Lake in Lunenburg, Massachusetts, on May 16. When the dog swam out about 100 meters into the lake, he unexpectedly picked up a passenger.

A woodchuck appeared to crawl onto two-year-old Wally's back to hitch a ride—and Russell was able to capture the moment on camera. In the video, the dog remains unbothered by his new friend—he turns around to see what's on his back, but then happily swims out of the lake.

Russell told WCVB-TV: "He was about 100 meters out and a woodchuck, I think, just crawled right up on his back and he swam back to shore with him.

"We were flabbergasted. It was unbelievable. We couldn't believe what we were seeing."

Russell said she wasn't sure why the woodchuck needed help getting out of the water, but guessed that it may have been in distress, or that it was simply feeling lazy.

She praised Wally for his kindness and said: "He's just an angel, he loves all animals, loves all little kids, people. Doesn't get better than Wally."

Once on dry land, the animals briefly touched snouts before the woodchuck ran away, as Russell said: "It came back to the island, hopped off his back, and then scurried away and they gave each other a little kiss goodbye. They, like, touched snouts and then he ran away."

Social media users were delighted by the unlikely encounter, with one YouTube user saying: "Looks just like my golden boy LJ! Can't go wrong with a golden retriever. They are truly the best breed of dog!"

A Twitter user joked: "Imagine having a Golden Retriever as your Uber if you were this woodchuck."

Golden Retrievers are "outgoing, trustworthy, and eager-to-please family dogs, and relatively easy to train," according to the American Kennel Club (AKC), which says: "They take a joyous and playful approach to life and maintain this puppyish behavior into adulthood. These energetic, powerful gundogs enjoy outdoor play."

Although seeing a dog carry a woodchuck on its back may be an unusual sight, Golden retrievers were bred to retrieve waterfowl for hours on end, and "swimming and fetching are natural pastimes," the AKC said.

Golden Retriever
A stock image of a golden retriever playing in water. A two-year-old golden retriever was swimming in a lake when a woodchuck climbed on his back. Capuski/Getty