Don't try this at home!

The story of "Mr. Squirrel" (yes that's *her on my leg!)

Many years ago I rented an apartment in a big house which had a mini-woods as a backyard. I made friends with a backyard resident, an extroverted fluffly red squirrel I came to call simply "Mr. Squirrel", *even after I discovered that he was really a she. I delighted in the sight of my little friend and started to bring home bags of mixed nuts to toss beneath the pine tree as a special treat. Quickly, the squirrel began to equate me with a handful of nuts, and apparently I wasn't the only one on the block feeding her (who could resist her?) so she really was gettin' spoiled.

Mr. Squirrel was not shy of humans, she was practically domestic! We had our little trick, where she'd leap up my leg and fetch a nut out of my hand. Yes, it was crazy, considering what if I got bit, rabies, etc.

Our "relationship" quickly spiraled out of control. One day, I went out the yard gate to take a walk, and she followed me around an entire city block, to the amazment of onlookers ("hey, you know you got a squirrel following you?"). When we got back to the house, Mr. Squirrel was exhausted, laying belly down on the cool sidewalk. That was the last time I gave her nuts. It was time to let her forage her own food and regain some instincts!

A few months later, the property lot was sold. The 70 year old pine trees in the yard were to be leveled and the house demoed for new construction. It was sad to see it all go, and I wondered if Mr. Squirrel (and the other animals) would be okay and find new homes, since mature trees were scarce in that area. My consolation was that I would plant trees somewhere else. And that's what we are doing here at our house, minus feeding wild (or semi-wild) animals ;o)


Melissa & Emmitt said...

hi pp!
that is an amazing story! one in a million!

Peng Peng said...

glad to be of service! :OP

Kingfisher Farm said...

Awwwwwwwww, At my first home, a bungalow, I had a pale cream squirrel named Sandy. She was an expert at getting in the squirrel proof birdfeeder! the neighbors called her Al the albino. but her eyes werent red. Pam

KSedlak said...

Oh, I just love that story. Mr. Squirrel is so cute hanging on your leg. How could you possibly let her go? It's so nice of you and your husband to be planting trees for the birds and squirrels.
We have a couple of big tree in our back yard and the birds just fly around all day long. I have a bird bath in the front yard and they just love to bath in it on a hot summer day.
Yesterday I saw a black squirrel for the first time. His fur looked like soft mink. He was just beautiful running up and down the tree.

Peng Peng said...

oh gosh, the black squirrels are adorable!! there are a few here too.. like little cats :)

Laura Lynn said...

Wow! That is such a cool story! So glad to hear you are planting some trees at your new place.

If you want some 13 lined ground squirrels too I'll be happy to send ya some LOL! (they drive my dogs NUTS!)

Laura Lynn