What became a Guinness World Records collection of 3,399 squirrel-related items began in 1981 with a small Sandicast squirrel figurine.
“I had some gift money saving up for a special and ended up buying a squirrel figure,” said Holly Judy, a Troy resident and Warren librarian. “Then my mom gave me a shirt and a necklace, and from there, it kind of turned into a set.”
In October 2021, the huge Goudie collection was recognized as the largest of its kind in the Guinness Book of Records. The previous record was 1,100, and this group consisted mostly of statues. Goudie has books, socks, cards, jewelry, umbrellas, ornaments, figurines, hand towels, bed sheets, mugs and just about anything else you can imagine in her precious collection.
“At this point, I’m really trying to add things that are more usable and practical,” said Judy. “I just got a squirrel umbrella, for example, and perhaps one of the most unique is Jonathan Adler’s brass shoe horn. It has a long handle and looks like a piece of art, but I use it every day.”
Being a librarian, it comes as no surprise that Goudie has over 200 squirrel books in her collection. She spent 37 years as a school librarian in Romeo and now works part-time at the Warren Civic Center Library, so books are near and dear to her.
She has a squirrel decoration for every holiday, a Polish pottery squirrel, and she’s collected pieces from all over the world. During a trip to Rome, one of the other people on the trip who was aware of her love for squirrels discovered something in a convenience store that she knew Judy wanted.
“It took three trips to the store to get it because it was closed the first time I tried to go and buy it,” Jody said. “I was finally able to get it right before we left.”
In the early days of building squirrel inventory, items were difficult for Goudie to find. But in recent years with online shopping and places like Etsy that specialize in handmade items, it’s been easier to spot squirrel-related pieces.
“The squirrel has never been an indoor animal,” Jody said. “Initially it was just an item here and another there, but over the years that has changed. There are online stores that only sell squirrel stuff.”
Goudie has been known to search eBay for unique squirrel gadgets.
“Once I was bidding on something on eBay and losing, but I kept looking for something else and it took seven years, but I found another one and was able to get it,” Jody said.
Many items have been dedicated to Goudie, and they are two of the things she considers the most special. On their 25th wedding anniversary, a friend gave Jodi and her husband a vintage vase resembling gray squirrels filled with flowers in the colors of their wedding. A bouquet of squirrels made from props from a school play is also one of her most cherished, despite the fact that it cannot be counted in the Guinness Book of Records.
Guidelines dictate that permitted items must be available for purchase and that handmade props do not fit these criteria.
Assembling all 3,399 pieces of her collection to be counted and photographed in the Guinness Book of Records was a daunting task. The counting must be done by two independent persons, one of whom must be a zoologist, and everything must be in one place. It took Goudie 10 weeks to set up the shelves with all her items on display, and she says she still puts things away.
“The trick is to display things so they can be counted quickly and in an orderly manner,” said Judy.
Although there are over 3,000 squirrel-related items, Goudie continues to collect items. I recently hit Joann Fabrics’ fall decor sale and found a squirrel doormat and came home from the Ann Arbor Art Gallery this summer with six different squirrel masterpieces.
“My husband was giving me a bad time about it, but my friend told him there were 10 more things I didn’t buy,” Jody said. “I try not to limit my purchases to more than once or twice a month, but at the moment the fall decorations are canceled which means there are more squirrel options.”