On most days our mornings explode into life when our dogs spot the squirrels sitting on a feeder in the backyard.
I initially put up the squirrel feeders in my yard so I could enjoy watching the squirrels play. I figured out a while back that it was more fun watching squirrels chase each other around than it was to try to keep them out of my bird feeders. Once I put up the squirrel feeders the squirrels left my bird feeders alone and EVERYONE was having a lot more fun!
But then the dogs discovered the squirrels and things got crazy! The pups will pace and paw at the doggie door while I whisper, in a hushed but serious tone, “Squirrel!, Squirrel! Squirrel!”
After a few seconds of getting the pups excited I open the doggie door and release the hounds! Our pups bumble and stumble over each other and race down the deck stairs because this is the day when they are going to finally catch a squirrel!
But they never do. Our sweet dog, Zen, has a fluffy stuffed squirrel that she likes to carry around and I am pretty sure that is as close to catching a squirrel as she is ever going to get!
We have developed a pretty fun party trick with our pups. When we have company over our dogs will make fools of themselves by begging for attention for a bite of your hot dog. Once they get unbearable we simply look at them and say, “SQUIRREL!” and see how many seconds it takes them to clear the room and bust out the door.
They have been known to knock over a few drinks in the process of rushing outside to defend the yard but the laugh we get from our guests is worth the extra clean up duties.
Of course, some dogs are faster than ours and some squirrels are slower than the ones in our backyard. The end result is that some dogs do catch and kill a squirrel and that mortifies their owners!
After the initial shock wears off they will wonder if squirrels carry dangerous diseases and if there's a chance their dog will get sick after the deadly encounter. Not to worry though, your dog has very little chance of getting sick from harming a squirrel as squirrels do not carry rabies or any other awful diseases that can be transferred to your pup!
What has become an embarrassment to our dogs and a horror for me is that our cat is excellent at catching squirrels!
We try to keep our cat inside during the day so she doesn’t go after the cardinals and blue jays at our bird feeders. We let her out at night as that is when the mice and rats come out to eat the spilled bird seed. It turns out that nighttime is also when certain types of squirrels come out!
It turns out that we have flying squirrels living in the woods behind our house. We didn’t know that we had flying squirrels until our cat brought us one as a gift one evening. Two days later she brought us another one!
Flying squirrels are nocturnal animals that are extremely common in the eastern half of the United States. They are also absolutely adorable. They are about half the size of a regular grey squirrel and have a flattened tail that they use like a rudder as they glide from tree to tree.
It broke my heart to see our little cat walking around with a mouthful of dead squirrel. It drove our dogs crazy.
We are still working on a solution to keep our cat away from the flying squirrels at night. But in the meantime I am looking forward to getting up tomorrow morning, brewing the coffee and watching our dogs try to catch that squirrel one more time!