Let me set the scene for you…
It’s Friday afternoon, and I’ve just arrived home from work. I make myself an egg salad sandwich (Brian doesn’t like the smell of hard-boiled eggs, so I try to only do this when he’s not around), watch “Ellen” while I eat my lunch, and start making a mental list of the chores that need to be done for the day. Brian has left town for a youth ministry conference, so unlike most Friday afternoons, I am left to do the cleaning all on my own. I don’t mind this, because back in the good old days of unemployment, I always did the cleaning on my own. I have, however, come to appreciate having 2 extra hands to assist… especially with mopping. I hate mopping.
After first tackling the kitchen, I decide to do some dusting. The last room I reach is our bedroom, and just as I am finishing up polishing the wood on my bedside table, I look outside the bedroom window and notice something unusual. Normally there is a fairly deep hole there that the dogs started digging a couple of weeks ago, and for some reason, when I’m near that window, I always check to see if they have made any more progress or given up (due to the red pepper that we sprinkled inside it). I do a double take and realize that there is, in fact, a dead squirrel in a shallow grave staring up at me. Well I guess you can’t really stare when you’re dead, but you get the idea.
I might have mentioned before that Noah (our husky mix) has a fascination/obsession with squirrels. He devotes his entire day to patrolling our yard tirelessly in search of squirrel intruders. Brian has often commented that one of these days, Noah is going to get himself a squirrel and it will be the greatest day of his (Noah’s) life. And boy was he right.
Of course, Brian’s phone doesn’t work at Camp Allen, so I knew I wouldn’t be able to call him for help. I called my mom and mom-in-law, both of which laughed at me. My mom suggested burying it (which I knew would only lead to Noah digging it up), and Terrie suggested disposing of it. Well we don’t have a shovel, so I knew that disposing of the little dead friend would be no easy task. Terrie suggested that I turn a trash bag inside out and pick the squirrel up through the trash bag, and then toss it. Clearly, she doesn’t realize what a girl I am!
After getting online to research what was the worst that could happen if Noah ate the squirrel (rabies or worms were enough to put me into action), I decided I had to dispose of the little critter. I marched bravely across the street to borrow our neighbor’s shovel, and put a plan into action. I marched back to our backyard and quickly noticed that the squirrel had been removed from his shallow grave—he was now being carried around the yard in Noah’s mouth. Awesome.
I start yelling for Noah to put the squirrel down, but he—clearly proud of his catch and amused by his new toy—starts trotting towards me in an effort to share his prize. I begin running in the other direction, all the while still yelling for him to put the squirrel down as if (a) he understands me and (b) he is going to obey me. It is at this point that Buster notices how much fun Noah is having and how much attention he is getting, so he decides it’s time to play tug-of-war with Noah over the dead squirrel.
So here I am, frantically yelling and waving my shovel in the air while Noah and Buster pull back and forth on the dead squirrel’s limp body. And the more I yell, the more excited they get and the more quickly they trot towards me. At this point, I realize I am being held captive by the dogs as they are more or less chasing me and backing me into corners of the yard. I escape towards the back door of our house, and open it thinking foolishly that they will drop the squirrel (as they do with most of their outside toys) and come inside. Buster responds accordingly and comes sprinting in my direction… and guess who comes running behind him with DEAD SQUIRREL STILL IN HIS MOUTH?! That was the point where I contemplated how quickly we could get Noah adopted by another family. Kidding, but as you can imagine, I was not amused.
I closed the door just in time, and went inside to get a couple of treats. I brought one for Buster (who immediately took the bait—he is weak), and one for Noah. I placed it in front of him (dead squirrel still in mouth) and watched him make what I think might have been the most difficult decision he’s ever made: “Do I drop the squirrel and risk losing it forever, or reject this tasty treat and keep my prize?” Well luckily for me, his stomach won and he dropped the squirrel and went for the treat. I very quickly swooped in and scooped the lifeless squirrel into my shovel, and sprinted to the back fence. I hurled him over to the compost pile, but of course I missed.
Noah and Buster were close behind, clearly upset with me. I went outside the yard, spent 5 minutes trying to get the squirrel back in the shovel (he was in a pile of leaves and it was harder to scoop him up this time), and successfully lifted him into the compost pile and gave him a proper burial.
So how does the story end, you ask? Well Noah and Buster seemed to recover quickly from their loss, and were back to their hyper selves in a matter of minutes. I, however, am scarred for life. And I don’t have to tell you how things ended for the squirrel.
And just so you know, as I was walking to church yesterday morning, I saw 2 squirrels playing in the street, and I quietly warned them that if they wanted to keep their lives, they needed to steer clear of the backyard of the orange brick house on the corner.