Before going out the other night, I headed into the living room, whose door I keep closed so my beagle-y mutt Casey can’t get in and dig at the rug. As soon as I entered, I glimpsed a twitch of a bushy tail by the window. It was a squirrel clinging to the curtain rod! Funny how, when a pointy nosed rodent with an acorn in its mouth scoots past you on its way up a tree, you never even think, “Hm, there goes a squirrel.” But change the venue to your living room and both you and the squirrel and your beagle, if you have one, go skittering around in a panic.
I grabbed a broom that happened to be nearby in the front hall, imagining I could sweep the rodent back to its natural habitat. Then I sprinted upstairs to get Casey, who was in my bedroom, so I could make sure he wouldn’t go chasing the squirrel around like crazy the way he once did with a deer in our backyard. Now that I’d gotten Casey downstairs, I realized I had exacerbated the likelihood of a chase scene. Moreover, I hadn’t thought to close the living room door or the bedroom door and when I dashed back to the living room, the squirrel was gone. Yikes, it could be anywhere in the house! How would I possibly sleep, knowing there might be a squirrel in my bedroom? I pictured awakening to its fur brushing my cheek, its claws dancing on my neck while it noshed on my nose.
My fight or flight instinct was to dart around the house, banging furniture with the filthy broom–debris flying everywhere–yelling “Squir-rel! Squir-rel!” But no bushy tail made itself known.
Casey’s fight or flight response was to poop on the living room rug, just as he did when nerves got the better of him amid a ring of senior citizens when he visited their retirement home as therapy dog.
Worst of all, I was late for a meeting and had to leave. I imagined the squirrel scratching Casey’s sweet, soulful-eyed face into a bloody pulp and Casey responding by eating the squirrel and me coming home to two carcasses in a puddle of blood, as though a duel had taken place in which both participants had pulled the trigger at the exact same moment.
Adrenaline must have helped me come up with the idea of putting Casey in his crate. Then, as I was about to go, I heard “scratch, scratch” coming from under the living room couch. Calmer now, I propped open the door to the outside and jiggled the couch. In one sweeping motion the squirrel flew across the room, out the door and up a nearby tree.
Now that it’s back to its regular life, I’m grateful to my squirrel for the visit. The little intruder turned an ordinary night into a story.
PS The squirrel in the photos is named Julie. She lliterally latched onto her “owner,” while he was playing golf and he took her home. He sought help and the person he found, who had several pet squirrels of his own, was Bernard Goetz, the subway vigilante.
See some of my Life Goes Strong posts: