A squirrel tale

March 28, 2014

blog_judy_coolsMoonlighting. A blog by Judy Cools

“A squirrel is a tennis ball thrown by God” said Facebook, along side of a photo showing a dog with a goofy smile.  We’ve had dogs for a lot of years.  Recently, we’ve been able to enjoy our dogs in a respectably-sized backyard which we had fenced last summer.  The newer dog loves to play fetch with tennis balls or stuffies or anything else, and may be the best dog we’ve ever had with this talent.  This is all good.

A couple of weeks ago while toiling over the ice dams on the eaves, my husband used a stepladder to reach the eaves.  No, he didn’t climb up on the roof, but used the ladder to reach the ice in question.  By the time he was done for the day, he was really, really done for the day.  The next morning when he went to put the ladder away, he found that it was frozen absolutely solidly to the ground.  More snow and colder temperatures overnight, and the ladder was like it was built there.  Hmmm…

Enter the squirrel.  Now, we have squirrels all the time; we live in the woods for goodness sake.  They run around like squirrels do, and fly across the back yard popping through the chain link fence without slowing down or missing a beat.  When they get interested in the bird feeder, we knock on the windows or let the dogs out to scare them off for a little while.

One curious squirrel started a habit of climbing up on that frozen ladder.  Sometimes he’d take a brave leap and end up on the roof.  Other times, he’d just sit on one of the steps and hang out for a while.  The dogs would send him flying if we let them out.

Well, earlier this week said squirrel was not only hanging out on the ladder, he was thumbing his little squirrel nose at the dogs, chanting “Na-na-na-na-na!!!  I’m outside and you aren’t.”  Those readers who know dogs will understand that the dogs did not take kindly to this torment.

In any case, we opened the door like we’ve done a million times before.  The squirrel flew across the yard, and the dogs gave chase like they’ve all done a million times before.  And after a few minutes, the dogs were done outside and wanted back in.  Business as usual.

Later in the day……  (this is the embarrassing part) my husband let the dogs out again and almost instantly said “He’s got something in his mouth!!  What is he carrying around?!?”  And sure enough…. it was the squirrel.  Quite dead.  Frozen stiff.  Looking for all the world the size and shape of the other dog toys.  Comical because of how normal it all looked.  So very sad because we never thought the dogs could be faster than that squirrel.

The safety of the fenceline is only a few small squirrel hops away.  He should have been fine.  We feel just awful, and can’t imagine what happened that the little guy didn’t sprint to freedom.  The other mystery is why the dogs came back into the house right away as usual.  I mean…. they’re dogs.  Wouldn’t you think they’d try to indulge in a little afternoon snack, rather than just calmly return to the house?  Surely fresh squirrel hors d’oeurves should be more exciting than the boring old house.  I don’t get it.

In any case, hubby removed the body/new dog toy, while the dog who likes to fetch tried to puzzle out why Dad wasn’t sending the toy across the yard for him catch.  I offered him treats and cuddling by means of distraction while Gary disposed of the squirrel.  Of course we couldn’t yell at the dogs for this event – it was clearly our misjudgment which led to the squirrel’s unfortunate demise.  They were just being dogs.



© 2014, J. L. Cools