Acting a little squirrelly


Haven’t updated in a few days. Don’t know why… not much going on. Just getting a new house ready to move into. Getting an old house ready to move out of (from three states away). Getting ready for a work trip to Washington, D.C. Trying not to get kicked out of my apartment because of our nutso dog.

Now, I love Chase with every little fiber of my heart. He’s a good boy. He’s really cute. He’s housebroken. And he’s very soft. All good attributes in a doggy. And he’s handled the move well so far, for the most part. However, he has a tendency to start this really piercing little bark when he gets a little jacked-up.

Like, for instance, when something goes bump in the night. He’s never shared a wall with other people, you see, so he figures, “Hey, someone’s in my house. I think I’ll be a watchdog, and bark for a bit. That’ll make mom happy. Bark! Bark! Ow! Why’s she throwing stuff at me?”

That only happens now and then, because we are, thank god, in an end unit. He does it more often when we get home from work and let him out of his kennel. He runs out, spins around in a couple of circles, dashes back inside the kennel to grab his stuffed fox, runs out again, spins around again in another couple of circles, then dashes back inside the kennel to grab his bacon strip we gave him 9 hours earlier. Then he eats it.

I never said he was normal. Just cute. And housebroken. And soft.

That’s all regular dog stuff, though. It enters a whole different realm when he gets a lot jacked-up by these massive gray squirrels outside. Usually, when we head outside the apartment building for his time-to-pee strolls, he bounces along all happy and jaunty.

But Chase loves squirrels. Or, rather, he loves to chase after them. Only in his dreams has he ever caught one. So when we leave the apartment and a little bit of squirrel odor wafts past his nose, he takes off like a streak of lightning, hot in pursuit.

He still is unable to grasp that he’s not in our back yard anymore, and that the tiny tug on his collar is this strange and unusual instrument called a leash. And it is not, alas, unlimited in its scope. One of two things therefore happens: he comes to an abrupt halt, then turns and glares at me indignantly with a “what the hell?” expression.

Or, much more often, he somehow bends the laws of physics to launch himself four feet past the end of the leash, therefore jerking my arm completely out of the socket, whereupon it falls off of my body and is dragged down the street leaving a trail of goo.

Feels like that, anyway.

To be fair to Chaser-man (one of his many nicknames), these aren’t your garden-variety, cute little squirrels. Picture a really big cat, like 23.5 pounds. Add a bushy tail, scary little paws with claws and a couple of beady little eyes, and you’ve got these guys pegged. I mean, they are huge. And they have more attitude than an Old Navy full of teenage girls.

I saw one the other day wearing a T-shirt with cigarettes rolled up in the sleeve. Another one was packing a Glock .45-caliber and sporting a Mossad tattoo. And I’d swear that out of the corner of my eye I saw a third one practicing throwing ninja stars, but when I turned back to him quickly, he was just sitting there, acting all innocent.

While Chase forgets how long his leash is during his squirrel-sparked frenzies, these rabid little rodents know down to the millimeter. I know this because that’s exactly where they sit, perched up on their little haunches and taunting my dog.

Squirrel: “Ha ha ha ha! Lookit the dog! Come and get me, little dog!”

Chase: “Oooh, if this leash was off…”

S: “What? What then? You think you’d catch us? Ha! Besides, it’s not off, is it? Ha ha ha ha ha ha!”

C: “Dinner, that’s what you’d be!”

S: “Dinner, schminner. Look, I’m gonna spit in your eye. Spit!”

C: “Ooooh, no you didn’t! Wwwwroooorrrwwwwwgrrrrr….”

That little growly barky thing he does should be warning to me, but I’m kind of too dumb to realize it. And I’m usually text-messaging, too, since there are currently, as of yet, no laws against text-messaging while dog-walking, although perhaps there should be.

The next things to happen occur almost simultaneously. “Yap! Yap! Yap! Yap! Yap!” Zoom, yank.

L: “Owwww, my arm! Ow! Ow! Ow!” I then am forced to run down the street, following the trail of goo to the base of a small tree, where I collect my arm as Chase barks frantically and leaps repeatedly onto the trunk.

Just out of reach of his snapping little teeth, perched on a tiny branch that can’t possibly hold  his weight, sits the big gray squirrel. As Chase begins to hyperventilate, it slowly lifts a scary little paw and hurls an acorn. Doink! Right off of Chase’s nose.

“Ha! Ha! Ha! Did you see that, Larry? I got him right on the nose!” the squirrel calls out to his friend in the tree next door.

I drag the wild-eyed Chase away, carrying my arm. I can’t wait until we’re moved into the new house, with a fenced, if small, back yard where the big, bad squirrels can’t get to Mr. Baby Boy.

Although, come to think of it, I saw a half-nibbled pine cone in the yard yesterday…

About wordsmith1313

Now: Somewhat retired, although I don't do it very well. Formerly senior director of Communications and Marketing for the Dallas Zoo. Journalist. EMT. Writer. Breast cancer survivor. I love to travel, and will always return from a trip with a new friend or two. Those fortuitous meetings bring velvet to the rough edges of life.
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3 Responses to Acting a little squirrelly

  1. Jackie Witkowski says:

    Hey Laurie! I love the “Adventures of the Traveling Dog” and miss your humor! It warmed my heart to read your blog…very funny. We also have a menacing squirrel in our yard which we affectionately named “Crazy-Ass Squirrel.” He really is a nut job and he is fearless. He stares me down as I bang on the window and he sits perched on my deck railing discarding the remnants of his daily dose of hickory nuts. If only he could be neat and tidy about it then we would get along! My kind and oh-so-gentle Guinness has decided to acquiesce and give “crazy-ass” free reign over the backyard.

    Much love to you and wishing you the most beautiful day. Take care my dear friend!

  2. Wanda says:

    Miles tamed a squirrel when we lived in Carrollton. She would even come into the house occasionally to enjoy a treat. I hope the new owner of our house is taking good care of her.

  3. Sharon says:

    Love this, Laurie – you’re the only person I know that uses the word “jaunty” in a conversation 🙂

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