Monday, September 27, 2010

The Squirrel Chronicles

Conner (our crazy dog) killed a squirrel this weekend. Wait, let me rephrase that. Conner killed another squirrel this weekend.

Since we moved in with my parents in July (barely 3 months ago), Conner has killed two squirrels. I have absolutely no clue how he did this. He's no stranger to chasing squirrels by any means. At our "old" house, he chased them all the time. (D hates it when I call it our "old" house because it's still our house and we still own it. Also because my parents' house is not our house, thereby we cannot consider it our "new" house, thus failing to render our "old" house old in the first place. ...Got that? Regardless, I have not found a more satisfactory way to refer to that house, so "old" it shall stay.)

There are two squirrels that frequent the back yard at our old house. They are smart, fast and a little bit bitchy. They hang out on the power lines and taunt him when he's outside. When he's inside, they stand right in front of his face on the patio, safely separated by the sliding door. He will never, ever catch those squirrels.

So I'm guessing that the squirrels in my parents' yard are a fatal combination of dumber, slower and curious-er. How else can you explain the fact that the same two squirrels at our old house have managed to survive Conner for well over two years, while the army of squirrels at my parents' house have already suffered two casualties?

The first time Conner killed a squirrel was about 2 weeks after we moved in with my parents. I was really sad because, from a distance, it looked like a baby squirrel. I was freshly pregnant and the hormones were at a fever pitch. We stood at the window facing the back yard, watching as the mama squirrel tried to nudge her fallen child awake and back up the tree. I could barely control the tears.

We have to get something straight here. I really don't like squirrels. I think they're way too smart for their own good, and it annoys me when they run around all over the place, causing Conner to go apeshit and bark his head off when I finally just got the baby to sleep for the love of all that is holy.

But when Conner killed that squirrel, it jabbed at my maternal side. Circle of Life my butt! The Circle of Life is evil.

It's kind of like when you're venting to your significant other about your parents or your sibling and saying how awful they're being, but when they start to agree or chime in, you're like "WOAH step off there, son. Don't you be saying nothin about my family."

Not really like that, but kind-of.

So D ended up having to go outside and shovel the squirrel into the trash so Conner wouldn't eat him. Turns out, it wasn't a baby squirrel after all, but what D referred to as a "teenager". Which I guess helped me get over it a little bit, because I could pretend that the squirrel was being a real snot-nosed brat, acting like Mr. Big Rodent, telling all his squirrel friends that he could outrun the dog and asking what they would give him if he did it. And when D told me that he had enormous, sharp-looking teeth, I felt that much better. Better that Conner came out victorious in that one than the alternative.

Then, yesterday, my mom and I went out to the store to get some fabric to finish up the stocking that I cross-stitched for L (which is turning out freaking amazing, by the way). When we got back, D told me that Conner had gotten another squirrel. When I looked at Conner and said, "What did you do!??" he literally looked at me with sad eyes and slunk away, like a little boy who picks the neighbor's roses and brings them to his mom expecting her to be thrilled, only to find out that she's exactly the opposite.

I started to feel bad for him because I knew he was only following his doggy instinct, but then D told me that the squirrel was still alive and that Conner had only injured it. Talk about making matters worse. My dad said that the squirrel had somehow made it back up the tree and was just laying on one of the branches.

I went outside to check on it, and my heart almost broke into 48 pieces when I saw this little, tiny guy nestled on a branch against the tree trunk. (Why was I again feeling so affectionate towards squirrels? Again, my money's on the hormones. Between being pregnant with L, the dreaded postpartum stage, and now being pregnant again, I've been hormonal for like a year and a half. It's getting old.) Then we went through about 3 hours where we'd look outside to see the squirrel either laying by base of the tree or laying on that branch.

We wondered how and why he kept getting down there, and my dad thought he was falling. But when we went out so my dad could lift him in a shovel and move him to the other side of the fence so we could let a frantic Conner outside again, that squirrel popped half-way up the tree like someone had lit his tail on fire.

So, we reasoned that the squirrel was actually better off than we'd originally thought and we just resigned ourself to the good old "circle of life" argument. Then D left and my parents left and I was alone with L. I let Conner out and within 10 minutes heard him raising hell. I looked outside and saw him standing within 2 feet of the squirrel. I couldn't see the squirrel's lifeless body, but I knew what it was.

It was dark when my parents got home, but I told my dad and he went out to try to look for the squirrel. He couldn't find it, so this morning we went out to look again. Nowhere to be found. Ordinarily, I wouldn't really care. I've got too much that's making me cry these days without having to worry about dead squirrels. But again, thanks to hormones (which seems to be resulting in an ever-increasing mental imbalance - maybe years and years of hormone influx causes permanent brain damage?), I found myself hoping that the squirrel's comrades had come in the night to give him a proper squirrel burial.

Farewell, little squirrel. I'm glad you didn't have to suffer the cold weather with an injured leg. I'm sure being a squirrel in the Michigan winter is hard enough as it is. I hope you and your buddy serve as warning signs to the rest of your squirrel clan: the dog is not to be messed with. He has come, and he has conquered. Maybe you'd like to leave and not return until we move out in July? That might be prudent. At the very least, head over to our old house and take some tips from the resident squirrels there. They make Conner look like an incompetent fool. And whatever you do, please stop allowing my dog to kill you. My fragile emotions just can't take it anymore.

1 comment:

Jessie said...

hahhaha aww the poor squirrel! You are so funny :)