Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Enemy

In case people haven’t figured out by now, I am an animal lover. Most of the time I prefer fuzzy or feathered creatures of to most people (perhaps because they don’t talk!). But now I have a furry enemy . . . the dreaded squirrel.

Until recently I have not had a problem with squirrels. They are kind of cute. I grew up in an old house where they were my neighbours, occasionally living in the walls. I would often fall asleep listening to them doing their little squirrel things.

My dislike began in the fall with the arrival of Miss Bug.  Her interest in them (aka wanting to hunt them, kill them and eat them) has caused a lot of pain in my arms and shoulders as she tried to chase after them and I held on for dear life.  The other issue is Hailey can see a squirrel three kms away. She remembers the places we see them the most often (the trees near an apartment building and the apple tree up the street) and she knows when you are approaching these areas and goes on high alert and the pulling begins. Due to this I have not felt as sad the last few weeks when I have seen a squirrel who met a car. I feel bad about this, but it is the way it was.

After an incident at the park yesterday, squirrels are higher up on my dislike list. Yesterday was an exceptionally beautiful November day in this part of the world. It was sunny and warm (10 degrees Celsius, when our day time temperature should be around 3). The girls and I were joined at the park by my mom who is visiting from out of town. We were having a leisurely stroll through the paths, chatting with other dog owners, enjoying the day. Lee started off doing an amazing job at coming back right away. She was showing off. My mother was very impressed with her.

Shortly after this jinxing statement, the enemy arrived and off she went. I called and she didn’t come back. I couldn’t see her but for the most part I could hear her. My heart dropped. I did my deep yoga breathes to keep my cool. I could feel the panic feeling rising. In my head I was thinking, “we are far away from the road, she will come back, please come back, if you stupid dog do not come back I will kill you.” I am sure everyone within a 2 km radius heard me calling “Hailey come” as I was yelling at the top of my lungs over and over again. After what seemed like an eternity, (but in reality was probably about a minute), she came back. I was just about to reach for the leash when she saw another squirrel and took off again. This time she came back much faster and I was able to grab her leash which was dragging behind her. I did reinforce her for coming back with treats, because she did come back. However, for the rest of the walk she was on leash.

Due to all the pulling and now distraction they cause and the safety risk they may pose I am putting them on my enemy list.

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