Yielding, thanks so much for the reply!
I've been in a kind of 'holding pattern', hoping for some guidance. I agree that the position of the hands seems forced but haven't yet come up with the solution. If I can't resolve it with this piece I may attempt another. Yes to the base as well , that I can manage. Very helpful comments, thank you.
Kathy, thanks for the encouragement
There is a thread in 'Animals and Wildlife' that everyone should read, it's called 'Unique way for Wildlife Art to impact youth' by lselier. It's 'chicken soup for the soul'.