Wednesday, October 04, 2006

All Creatures Great and Small: Do Squirrels Matter?

Scott was upstairs talking to me after school while I worked at the computer, when he looked out of our office window and noticed something floating in the pool. “Is that a frog?” he asked. Then, answering his own question, he said, “No, it’s a squirrel!” Before I knew it, he rushed downstairs and out the back, quickly grabbing the skimmer. He scooped up the tiny animal from the vastness of the pool, and I helped him free the baby squirrel from the netting. We weren’t in time. The little creature had drowned. I could tell it bothered him. I wondered what mama and daddy squirrel would think. “Ah,” you say, “squirrels probably don’t.” I’m a sap. I like to think life matters. Even a squirrel’s.

9 comments:

Tim said...

As an lover of all things nature, seeing the drowned squirrel would have bothered me, too. Naturally, I know the logic behind this is that most animals do not have the same or similar emotional reactions we do towards such things (though there are somem that do: dogs, dolphins, elephants, etc). That, and I like rodents . . . except for naked rats.

Sheila said...

I try to respect nature and understand that some things are the way they are for a reason and that it is a natural reason. For example, the lion kills a smaller animal which may have killed another smaller animal and so on down the food chain. This, is I suppose, a simple view but it's early here and I haven't had my coffee.

I don't know whether squirrels think. You mentioned dogs. I know dogs think. My Samantha would sense my emotions and distress during my illness and come be near me with her head placed gently on my knee. I believe she thought about it and said to herself, "She needs me to show her my love right now."

Awakening said...

I believe they do suffer loss and grief. New neighbors moved in, cut down a hundred plus healthy fir tree and displaced all the life in the tree. They put the babies in our yard while we were at work, they had died. I watched the momma squirrel search frantically for her babies for weeks. She would travel from the side yard where the tree was, to the pieces of that old tree at the curb. You could see her searching in and out of the pile. Broke my heart. My husband still calls tthe neighbors "the tree killers," after two years. Their effort to landscape, shocked the trees in our yard and we almost lost our side yard trees. I am a tree hugger, too. The momma squirrel did stop after a few weeks and I always hoped that she had more babies. It was so sad. I also watched the squirrels chatter softly to my Ally 2 weeks before she passed. Theirs was a wild relationship before she was diagnosed with lymphoma. They were eachothers purpose. Mostly the squirrels liked to get Ally running around the yard, with their loud tongue lashing. But when I saw one of our squirrels on a low branch just softtly chattering to Ally and she was intently listening while laying in the grass and sun, I knew they were communicating. The squirrels, birds, ducks, geese and rabbits disappeared from in and around our yard for the following two weeks and came back after Ally had passed. The rabbits live under our shed and even that surprised me when I didn't see them. It was so quiet in our yard, that I noticed right away. I wrote way too much. Thank you for this subject.

Sheila said...

Awakening, I appreciate your comment and the story about Ally. I'm sorry you no longer have her as your companion. If we only stop once in a while and observe, oh the lessons and insight we can gain from nature. Sam once chased down a squirrel and could have killed it if I hadn't run out screaming like a madwoman. Last year, a family of squirrels took up residence in the soffit of our front porch. This summer when we had the damaged wood replaced, there were several skeletons from the babies. I guess the parents met an untimely death and couldn't come back. I was annoyed by the damage the grown ups did but still sad. See, I told you I was a sap.

Awakening said...

A very nice one...smile. The madwoman comment made me laugh! I had a flash back of running after our our two dogs while they ran after a large rabbit. Our boy snagged some fur before it escaped through the fence. I was frantic that they would catch it. After that we started to knock on the patio window before opening the door, to warn any critters in the yard. It worked. How weird are we? LOL! I will have to visit your Italy Vacation post this weekend. I do need to get lost somewhere distant this weekend, especially after this past week. Thanks much.

Sheila said...

That's funny. Give the wildlife a heads up. I've done that too.

Sheila said...

Update on critter experiences. Caught and safely escorted a baby lizzard who had somehow found his way into my upstairs office. By the shriviled look of the tiny fellow, he's been lurking around for awhile watching me type for the blog and other projects. Living in the South has exposed me to all kinds of creatures, but I like lizzards and hate to see them sneak into the house where they die a slow death.

NAOMI said...

That was such a sad story. I agree animal's live's matter just as much as people's. We get a lot of frogs where I live as our neighbours have ponds and they like to be where there is water. Quite often they lose their way and burrow under the fencing and come over here. We found a dead baby one the other day. It was really sad. He couldn't survive the cold.

Sheila said...

Frogs. We get them too. Sometimes they hop in the pool and we find them in the strainer baskets alive. Sometimes not.