Sometimes, I am so glad I have a place to write this stuff down.
So, I’m walking Charlie this morning. It’s not even 10 am and already it’s 90 degrees. I want to die but I can’t complain too much because my dog is wearing a gigantic fur coat in this weather. By all accounts, he should be in an igloo somewhere so I walk in sweaty silence, awash in dog-owner guilt.
We round the corner near our house and I see a woman in the street, close to the sidewalk, waving frantically at the back of a parked car. At first, I think she’s just shooing a bee very DRAMATICALLY but then I see the baby stroller behind her and the look of panic on her face. She sees me and calls out, “I’m being attacked by a squirrel.” She tells me the squirrel’s been following them and actually tried to jump onto the stroller. And then she asks, “Can I please borrow your dog?”
I take a step forward and then I see it. She’s right. There’s a squirrel and he is NOT backing down. He’s crouched under the back of the car like a jungle cat, ready to pounce. Every time the woman took a step back, the squirrel advanced.
I look down at Charlie, unsure of how helpful he’ll be in this situation. If the situation had called for Lying Down, my dog would be on it.
If the situation went to the tune of Do Nothing, I would volunteer him in a heartbeat. But barking? No. Squirrel-chasing? Yeah, no. Unlike every other dog in America, Charlie could care less about squirrels. He’s more of a rabbit person (we have a ton of rogue rabbits in my Chicago neighborhood.)
So, I’m standing there, regretting not getting a psychotic lab, who would’ve been annoying in every other facet of my life but GREAT in this one specific scenario, when Charlie jumps into action. He runs at the squirrel, who flees for like a second. The squirrel tries another direction, STILL ADVANCING ON THE STROLLER, and Charlie, my hero, blocks his path.
This squirrel will NOT give up. It runs up a tree and I think we’ve got it on the ropes so I turn to the woman and tell her she should take the baby and keep walking. “We’ll hold him off.” I actually said that. “We’ll hold him off.” Who am I, John Wayne? And also, I’d like to point out the absurdity of my 60 lb dog and my full-bodied human self, roughly 210 pounds of mammal force, who stood between this baby and this squirrel and yet if the squirrel had charged, I DON’T KNOW WHAT I WOULD’VE DONE. Thrown Charlie at it? Thrown my arms out and waved, screeching? Seriously, what do you do?
We start walking and the squirrel FOLLOWS US. Except it’s taken to the trees, a standard guerilla warfare tactic in the war of squirrel versus baby. And it’s making this grunting noise. Was it in heat? Was it trying to mate with the stroller? Was it rabid? Now the woman and her baby and me and Charlie are speed-walking down this street and the squirrel is, well, he’s GAINING on us. I have never been hunted by an animal before and let me tell you something- it does not feel GOOD.
Finally, the woman reaches her house, calls out “thank you” and whisks her baby inside faster than I could blink. I don’t blame her because the squirrel climbs up the tree across from her house and is staring after them. I would’ve taken a picture of it but I did not want to incur its wrath. This was the Sean Penn of squirrels and I was the paparazzi. Who knows what he would do to my phone?
Charlie and I keep walking and the squirrel stays behind, laying in wait in front of the woman’s house. I feel a flash of pity for them, holed up in there while a monster animal stakes them out, just waiting for them to slip up so he could have that stroller all to himself. Seriously, what do you do against an overly aggressive squirrel? So far Google has not been helpful in this question, which is kind of ridiculous. I mean, squirrels are EVERYWHERE.
What if they’re planning a takeover? HOW DO WE TAKE THEM DOWN?
*Or, ok, so my dog did. But I’d like to think I sent him some kind of telepathic signal to defend us all.