Animals have long been in showbiz, but Twiggy takes things to another level. Twiggy is a waterskiing gray squirrel who hits the road nine months of the year not only to entertain boating aficionados across North America, but also to promote water and boating safety [source: Welowszky].
Twiggy got her start back in 1978, when Chuck and Lou Ann Best found a squirrel blown out of its nest due to Hurricane David. Chuck had recently purchased a remote-control boat for the couple's daughter, and on a whim he taught the squirrel to waterski behind it. Suddenly in possession of a waterskiing squirrel, the couple began hitting the boat-show circuit with the squirrel, whom they named Twiggy. As her fame increased, Twiggy began accepting offers to make guest appearances in movies, commercials and music videos. Two of her most famous credits are for her performances in "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story," and "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" [sources: Welowszky, McCarthy].
Although Chuck has since died, Lou Ann continues rescuing and rehabilitating orphaned squirrels, training new Twiggys as needed. As of 2016, they're on the eighth generation [source: Recreational Boat Building Industry, Daily Texan].
Author's Note: 10 Animals With Better Jobs Than You
I'm not surprised at all of the jobs held by animals. As the owner of a German Shephard, I know how smart nonhuman animals can be. And loyal. And hardworking. But I wouldn't have guessed that you could teach a squirrel to waterski. That's pretty unbelievable. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) isn't a fan of the Bests' work with Twiggy, by the way, even though they're trying to teach water safety. PETA also opposes the Groundhog Day tradition, and likely would have make a flap about Jocko Flocko's racing career, had the group been around then (it was founded in 1980). I can't say which jobs animals might truly enjoy performing, and which ones feel more like forced labor. But surely the therapy-type jobs benefit all involved.
More Great Links
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- Chambers, Meredith. "5 Things You Didn't Know About Groundhogs." New Jersey 101.5. Feb. 2, 2013. (April 1, 2016) http://nj1015.com/5-things-you-didnt-know-about-groundhogs/
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- Fears, Danika. "Rescue puppies get surprising stand-in mom: A capybara." Today. July 12, 2013. (March 31, 2016) http://www.today.com/pets/rescue-puppies-get-surprising-stand-mom-capybara-6C10619427
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- McCarthy, A.J. "Twiggy the Waterskiing Squirrel Is a Superstar." Slate. July 2, 2015. (April 2, 2016) http://www.slate.com/articles/video/video/2015/07/twiggy_the_water_skiing_squirrel_dominates_x_games_performance_in_austin.html
- NBC 15. "UPDATE: Sun Prairie makes new plans for Groundhog Day." Jan. 28, 2016. (April 1, 2016) http://www.nbc15.com/home/headlines/Jimmy-the-Groundhog-turns-on-the-mayor-290547131.html
- One Green Planet. "Meet Ruby the Incredible Dog Who is the Ultimate Vet Nurse for Rescued Farm Animals." Sept. 8, 2015. (April 1, 2016) http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/incredible-dog-who-is-the-ultimate-vet-nurse-for-rescued-farm-animals/
- Recreational Boat Building Industry. "Twiggy the Waterskiing Squirrel." (April 2, 2016) http://www.rbbi.com/folders/show/04tulsa/twiggy.htm
- Smith, Richard and Janet. "Sunol History." Sunol Treehouse. (April 2, 2016) http://sunoltreehouse.com/sunolhistory.html
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- Tim Flock. "The Story of 'Jocko Flocko.'" (April 1, 2016) http://www.timflock.com/
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- Welowszky, Jane. "Meet Twiggy the water-skiing squirrel." The Star. Jan. 11, 2016. (April 2, 2016) http://www.thestar.com/life/2016/01/11/meet-twiggy-the-water-skiing-squirrel.html
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