The squirrel was attracted to the three bird feeders. It would jump down from the neighbor’s Valley Oak tree, run down the fence, across ten feet of mulch, then run up the plastic rain barrel to climb up the gutter or hang onto the stucco.
This is when the dogs would see him as the squirrel peered into the kitchen window over the sink. Then they would go ballistic and bark and bark, scratching my new kitchen cabinets as they tried to reach the window.
I finally had to park two stools in front of the sink to stop the scratching.
The squirrel jumped on the closest feeder until it broke, emptying its contents onto the pavement where he could reach it.
Now down to two feeders, I saw the same squirrel every day. Once I opened the slider before I pounded on the window, and my two dogs barked and jumped at the squirrel as he clung to the string of lights attached to the eaves. Somehow, he escaped to live another day. I was impressed.
But then it happened. I was picking up poop yesterday when I came upon him, laid out on the mulch with a mottled coat from the rain.
It hadn’t rained since Thursday. I hadn’t been in my back yard for three days.
I got the bucket, shovel, and plastic bag so that I wouldn’t have to touch him, the whole time scolding the dogs. He was a good squirrel, even if he was a pain in the butt.
My friend says squirrels are just day rats. I say they are rats with better tails.
Then I saw evidence of the struggle. The stucco under the kitchen window was covered with muddy paw prints. Why hadn’t I heard any of this? That’s right. I had gone to the thrift store to drop off a carload of donations. Then I’d taken my sister to the podiatrist.
The paw prints were dog-sized. There were also swaths of mud mixed in among the paw prints. Daisy had jumped up and grabbed him, then had shaken him to death and left him on the mulch without a mark on him. Pepper was a willing participant, but Daisy had done the deed.
My kids called Daisy a murderer yesterday after I bought them lunch. They walked her with me and let her sit with them in the recliners, but they judged her.
It’s not her fault. She was bred to kill rodents. Her strong prey drive is feature of Russell Terriers. The day I picked her out at the shelter she was cowering in the corner. I never dreamed that she’d be the aggressive dog that she is today. Pepper keeps her in check, because Pepper is 50 pounds of lab with a little bit of pit bull in her.
It’s a good match, for everyone except the neighborhood squirrel. I hope the other squirrel is smart enough to look eleswhere for food.
May her buddy rest in peace.