Monday, November 29, 2010

On Squirrels

We have a problem with squirrels in our household. We don't have a "squirrel problem," and by that I mean that there are no squirrels chewing through wires or living in the attic (we don't even have an attic). But we have a Roxie dog.

Roxie has had a problem with squirrels since the moment she moved in with me six years ago. She searches every tree in every setting for the smallest presence of a squirrel--the brush of a branch, the swish of a leaf, even the sunlight shadowing on the ground are scrutinized carefully. Obsessively.

In the morning on our walk, she stops at each tree to check. During our time on the balcony, she keeps her eyes open even if she relaxes enough to rest her chin on the railing. Right now she is sitting up straight, looking out on alert. A casual observer might think she is a great protector. Oh no, she is only a great fan of squirrels.

And my beloved but strange dog even has a squirrel noise. I've heard it twice. It is a long cooing noise, a low "ooooooooo" that I swear I have never, ever heard another dog make. The first time she made the noise I was inside a little backhouse that we shared and when I came outside she had caught a squirrel and smushed its back legs. It was crawling helplessly on the ground and Roxie, visibly upset, was circling around her, softly saying "ooOOOOooooOOOO." The second time was a few weeks ago, on the balcony. Roxie saw a squirrel, but couldn't chase it and sat and cooed for a few minutes while shaking with the intensity of her concentration.

If I were a better dog trainer, I would capitalize on Roxie's ability to fixate on one thing. I would teach her better things to do than constantly search for squirrels. I would keep her under control rather than handing Andy the leash and watching the two of them "tree" every squirrel in the park each morning.

But I'm not. I'm just going to admit that we have a problem with squirrels and leave it at that.

So why bring all this up now? Well, this post is simply a long introduction for a photo that I felt had to be shared.

We are also easily entertained in our household.


Anonymous said...

I hope you have started saving up for the expensive psychotherapy Roxie will surely need one day. :)

Carlyn said...

Did Roxie know that she was a squirrel? Would she start chasing herself? I bet she would! :)