My dog’s love of squirrels is innate. Every morning he sits on the family room sofa watching for squirrels running along the fence. He can actually hear them coming. Once he sees one, especially in the fall when they are searching for acorns from my back-yard oak tree, he runs out the garage dog door and chases the squirrel who already up near the top of tree. Dogs can’t climb trees. Lucky squirrels.
In the afternoon, my dog sits on the living room sofa facing the street, scanning for squirrels and people walking heir dogs. Trouble is he can’t chase squirrels out front – except vicariously.
One time when we had our first little white dog, we went to Sacramento and walked through the large tree- and squirrel-filled park in front of the Capitol. Once Sherlock spotted a squirrel, he would bark and run after the squirrel. The little critter was already smiling down at him from a tree limb. He went after another, and then another, and soon everyone sitting on blankets nearby was following his unsuccessful chases. Everyone kept on laughing and clapping for the squirrel!
Now, for my husband’s part in this squirrely story. Two weeks ago, we planted some red impatiens in the eight flower pots hanging on our side fence. Brand new soil, water and fertilizer; task completed. The next day, two of the impatiens were gone.
So husband went to the store, bought more impatiens and a rectangle of tight screening, shaped it and nailed it to the fence to protect the two rows of impatiens in pots. A beautiful, well-made screen, I told him. He smiled.
The following day two more impatiens were gone. “You don’t think like a squirrel,” I told him. The screen allowed the squirrel to jump to the fence and get the impatiens from the inside.
So he wired the top of the fence so squirrels would get a slight harmless shock if they ran on it. Impatiens problem solved; dog lost a daily hobby of chasing those squirrels that ran across the fence. Dog now gets a longer walk to “make up” for his lost morning squirrel chases.
My husband also likes ladders (is that an innate male trait?), and last week climbed on one to examine a place under the roof that he had sealed up last year. It was okay, but then he discovered a new hole in the eave under the front of the house. A squirrel had gnawed into our house. So my resolute husband got out a big piece of aluminum and, with nails and hammer in hand, covered up the hole. Success he declared.
Squirrel was smarter. He chewed through the aluminum and found his hole.
Husband was mad at squirrel, so he bought a square of steel to cover up the hole and nailed it over the squirrel’s hole on our house.
Yesterday evening, we were sitting in the living room sipping a glass of wine and lo and behold, THE squirrel was sitting on the 1st floor corner of the roof (closed up hole was near the second-floor roof). Note: Dog saw the squirrel first.
The three of us watched the squirrel run up to the e second floor, heard it scratch on something (the steel plate, I suspect), and come back to the first-floor roof edge to sit and think. Squirrel ran up again, and then came back down to think some more. Squirrel made a third trip, husband went outside to watch, dog cried because he wanted to go outside with husband to see the squirrel.
Husband came in, declared that the steel was working, the three of us watched and talked about the squirrel for the next 15 minutes, when dinner was ready.
What have we come to, I asked my husband, when we spend our entire “cocktail hour” watching and talking about a squirrel with a dismal unbushy tail.
Not sure. I will have to decide whether our conversations are really deteriorating. But I will agree that, once again, squirrel won!