Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Squirrels Figure Prominently In My Life

I am not exactly sure why, but this is an inarguable fact.

Squirrels and I are mysteriously and inevitably linked forever. What follows are examples of my life and the life of squirrels intersecting.

Example #1

My mother could save animals. She may possibly be considered for sainthood. Someday there will be a large marble statue of my Mom surrounded by animals - a bird balancing on her outstretched finger, a dog lovingly nuzzling her hand, a cat and a bunny curled up at her feet, fawns prancing around her, AND a squirrel sitting on her right shoulder.

These are not just randomly chosen images. My Mom saved numerous birds, quite a few dogs (Goose, Rags, Putsy to name a few), a cat that had been frozen solid in a pan of milk I KID YOU NOT, a rabbit that was so young it didn't even have fur yet (and was found floating down a ditch - we named him Moses), and yes.....a squirrel. Eventually named Speedy.

Now, the Speedy rescue was not quite as dramatic as the frozen cat or the floating bunny, but it was to be a defining moment in my childhood.

Our family was at a campground up in the mountains around the Fourth of July one summer. I was pretty young, so much is fuzzy, but it has been recounted as family lore so many times it seems like just yesterday. There was a moment that my brother began yelling (I think with fear, but this is one of the fuzzy parts). We all rushed to him and discovered that he had a very, very friendly squirrel sitting on his shoulder. Now, I don't know how much camping or outside activities any off you do, but squirrels don't usually just jump on a person and refuse to get down. This squirrel was so insistent that my Mom (softie) eventually agreed to take him home with us.

My Mother was a nurse her entire life and has this way of taking care of things that is no-nonsense and insanely compassionate. She is the most amazing person I have ever seen when dealing with any animal, hurt or otherwise.

When we got home, she immediately went about making the little guy comfortable. The only reason she agreed to bring him home in the first place was he was so friendly that she was afraid he would "fall into the wrong hands" and possibly be abused. There is nothing worse than an abused squirrel. (or so I am told)

His new home became a bird cage that sat on the floor. It's door was always open and he had the run of the house. He would beg food from people and tuck it into the curtain pleats, the potted plants, everywhere. He would beg for attention and crawl up your pantleg and sit on you shoulder. He would jump into the bubbles while you were doing dishes, then run up your arm to dry himself off with your hair - the while chattering very loudly in squirrel language. At night he would sleep in his birdcage and actually pull his "blanket" (a washcloth) up over him to keep warm. He was adorable. Here is a very good representation of what Speedy looked like...

Then, something changed. It was a few years later when Speedy began showing signs of aggression.

It began innocently enough with a nibble on a finger here and there. Then the nibbles became full on bites. When he had us scared enough, we were eventually running and screaming down the hallway to our bedrooms with a evil and bad-mannered squirrel on our tail. Yeah. This may seem funny now. But holy shit it was scary! Ever been bitten by a squirrel? It hurts! Plus, he was speedy (just like his name) and that kind of speed is also frightening. This is what Speedy looked like during this stage of his life....

So our household was reduced to crying, running, squirrel-phobic children.

Not pretty.

Eventually, Speedy was given to a family friend who lived far up in the deserted hills. She acclimated him to being an "outside squirrel" by leaving his open birdcage on the front porch. He would go out exploring during the day and come home at night, eventually leaving for longer and longer periods of time until (we hope) he felt successful in the wild and decided to stay out there. Possibly with a new squirrel family? Who knows.

Example #2

My daughter learned how to walk by getting really excited about the squirrels outside of the sliding glass door and trying to get to them.

Example #3

My car is named the Minty Squirrel.

Don't you think there are too many squirrel related items on my personal timeline?


At 2:00 PM, Blogger KOM said...

It wouldn't have occured to me to keep a squirrel as a pet. Especially an indoor pet. I wonder if it would get along with the cats...?

Despite your admonishments, I laughed several times. I think it's weird to name a car, period. But if you're going to do it, why the heck not the minty suirrel?

At 1:19 AM, Blogger Ant said...

Why did you call the car Minty Squirrel?

Frozen cats and floating bunnys... (trying, and failing, not to LOL because I'm in reading this in a meeting... :oD)

At 1:47 AM, Blogger SnappedPhoenix said...

Here in Australia, people tend to give their cars female names. Especailly bogans.

(Thanks for the link!)

At 2:17 PM, Blogger Squishi said...

Erm Thanks pheonix, mine's called M&M... not after the chocolate, but i couldn't decide whether to call it "Mork" or "Mindy"

We don't have squirrels here in Australia either. Squirrels are cute I think. The closest is possums. There's nothing like having one of THOSE take up residence in your roof... hehe

btw shari? Three popup/popunder ads when coming to your site is um.... annoying.

At 6:13 AM, Blogger Sherri said...

The thought of a squirrel chasing a screaming child down the hall for some reason makes me giggle.

Hope you aren't too traumatized! :)

At 6:25 AM, Blogger Shamus O'Drunkahan said...

Squirrels make lousy house pets.

I had one sneak into my garage, then ran in through an open door into the house., Over the next day, the little twerp shredded curains and chewed on woodwork.

It was a bitch getting him out of there.

At 9:16 AM, Blogger Shari said...

The car was my sister's first, and came with the name. I will ask her the story....

Strange that I never thought to question it myself....


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