Friday, March 21, 2014

The Mississippi Squirrel in Illinois

Not the actual squirrel
Today when I got home from work, I pulled in the driveway, as usual. Absentmindedly, I started to walk around the front of my van to go inside when I heard a commotion ahead of me. When I looked up, I saw a squirrel on one of my patio chairs. He was frantically trying to climb away, but seemed immobilized. I jumped back and yelled, "Oh my God!" (I may have said "Holy Shit!" I don't remember exactly.)

For a moment, I stood and stared at the squirrel, wondering what to do. The squirrel seemed to have his leg caught between the legs of my patio chairs that were stacked up, and wasn't able to get free. I finally turned and walked around the back of the van and headed for the front door.

As I walked towards the front door, I called my mom,who was inside my house, and told her to send one of the kids to unlock the front door. She sounded puzzled as she said "okay" so I told her I would explain when I got inside.

When I got in the door, I said, "The Mississippi Squirrel is out back." I explained how the squirrel was stuck, and I had no idea what to do. Mom suggested that I call animal control. I called City Hall and explained that I had a squirrel stuck between the patio chairs on my carport. She asked, "It's stuck between your chairs?" So I explained that the chairs were stacked together, and the squirrel seemed to be stuck between them. She then took my name, address and phone number and said she would get in touch with the animal control officer.

In the meantime, I kept looking out the back window to see if the squirrel was still there. I noticed it hadn't moved in awhile so I thought that it may be dead. I went out the front door and walked around to the back to check on it. I made some noise as I got close to it, and it didn't move, but I could see that it was still breathing.

After a bit, I decided to order pizza for supper. When I was leaving to go pick it up, I decided that since the squirrel hadn't moved when I went out earlier, I would take a chance on going out the back door and walk around the back of the van since I would have to walk right past it to walk around the front.

Well, when I opened the back door, the squirrel spazzed out. I figured he'd settle down as soon as I was out of sight. As I walked around the back of the van, I heard something crash into the pile of leaves under the patio chairs. My two younger kids are standing at the back door, with the screen open, yelling that the squirrel got free and was injured. I hurried to get in the van and get the door shut before the squirrel managed to get in the van with me.

The kids were still standing there holding the screen door partway open so I called the house from my cell phone and told them to shut the damn door before the squirrel got in the house.

As I backed out of the driveway, I saw the squirrel trying to crawl across the carport, dragging it's hind legs. I figure he probably broke his back when he fell and paralyzed his back legs.

After I picked up the pizza, I came home to find the animal control officer in the backyard trying to catch the squirrel. She had an old cat litter box that had been sitting on the carport and a piece of cardboard. She was putting the box on top of it, and then trying to scoop it up with the cardboard, but the squirrel kept getting away.

I went over to help, and we were finally able to catch it by scooping it up with a shovel. She then held it by it's tail to get it into the kennel, but then it was grabbing the kennel gate with it's front paws when she tried to put it into the kennel. Finally, we got the squirrel in the cage. She explained that it would probably be euthanized in the morning since he seemed to be hurt pretty badly.

After animal control left, I carried the pizza in the house to find Christa, my 6 year old, sitting at the table crying about the squirrel being hurt. I explained that the squirrel would be put to sleep in the morning, and it wouldn't suffer anymore. I thought she knew what "put to sleep" meant, but she asked, "And then it will get better?" Not wanting to explain what was really going to happen, I just said yes. That made her happy.

I only wish I had taken some pictures to post with this story. The squirrel pictured above is one that was sunning itself on the roof eave at work. No, it's not dead. 

And if you think this story is funny, wait until you hear the one about the mouse in my bath tub, but that's a story for another blog. :-)

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