THIS IS PART THREE
Read Part One: “Spirit Squirrel™ is Back”
Read Part Two: “More Adventures of Spirit Squirrel™”
“Hello, there’s a sick squirrel slowly walking around my yard. His tail is dragging. He doesn’t look right. He’s all squinty. He’s not bright-eyed and bushy tailed. Now he’s reclining under a rose bush. Can you please come and rescue him? “
Sitting on a comfy boat cushion with a garden spade in my hand, I was in a state of Zen transplanting clary sage seedlings in the rear part of our yard. A lovely day; quiet except for the crows, I see out of the corner of my eye — less than a foot away from my hand — something that doesn’t look like a plant, but it’s not moving. At the exact moment my brain registers that it’s a squirrel, I can tell there’s something really, really wrong with it. Here in SoCal, we’re used to ground squirrels digging holes in our yard, eating bird seed, and being annoying. They always run away when a human’s around. But not this poor little guy.
What are you supposed to do when you find a sick adult squirrel?
Now we’ll proceed to commence the frustrating and annoying round of telephone calls to useless govenrmental agencies who pass you on and on like a game of “Hot Potato”.
“No” says the City of Carlsbad Environmental Services,
“We don’t do that”. “You should call Animal Control.”
Nope, San Diego County Animal Control can’t do anything either, but they say that because it could possibly have or carry the bubonic plague, I should call the County of San Diego Vector Control. Vector Control specialist Chris informs me with a chuckle that only the squirrels on Palomar Mountain test posiitve for the plague and it’s impossible this one has the plague, maybe he “ate some bad food” but they won’t help this little critter.
“Let Mother Nature take its course”, he says.
When I tell him that, as a compassionate animal advocate, I’m having a hard time grasping that concept, and while I’m at it, I’m wondering what exactly it is that Vector Control does,…he suggests I try to call Project Wildlife — but, he cautions, I shouldn’t get my hopes up because squirrels don’t rate very highly on their list of animals they like to rescue. However, if I could trap it in a box and bring it to them, they would have to accept it.
If you can’t picture me somehow trapping a potentially extremely sick animal and putting it in my car and driving it to Project Wildlife, that’s because it would never happen in a zillion years. A bird, yes; a dog, cat, coyote, bobcat even, but not a squirrel or a rat or a racoon that’s listlessly walking around in circles with squinty eyes.
Isn’t that what these city/county agencies are for? Isn’t that why we pay taxes?
I called Chris back, unwilling to believe that he can’t see the potential public harm from a squirrel that is obviously not acting like a normal squirrel, and he suggests that I “get a family member or a neighbor to put it out of its misery or just wait until it dies and put it in the trash.”
I hung up before I said anything that could be classified as a threat…..
I ran inside and locked the door and emailed my tugboat man. If ever there was a time when I hated him for being away, this was it. If he had a normal job, he could have left work, driven home, and helped me out. But no….he’s a zillion miles away. Here’s the email:
Amazingly, he called while I was keeping an eye on the sicky squirrel with a pair of binoculars. He suggested that I get the hose out and gently sprinkle it in the general direction of the squirrel to guide it away. While I was on the cell with him, I turned on the water, and with hubs encouragement, sprayed near the squirrel. Oh NO, that was the wrong thing to do!
THAT MOTHERF***ER CAME AFTER ME!
Instead of running up the hill and hopefully back to his den, he began to walk straight AT ME. I’m screaming in hubs ear and running around in circles and swearing at him and telling him to get on the first goddamn flight to do his job as a husband and protect me from being attacked by a wild animal — and he says,
“No, I cannot do that, Rosebud. I cannot tell the company that my wife is being traumatized by a ground squirrel and I need to have the United States Coast Guard fly me home.” “Good luck with that, ‘cos that’s not gonna happen. That’s not what we consider an emergency.”
NOTE: He really said CANNOT and not the informal can’t.
Well, thanks a whole lot, Master Captain Butthead. I won’t forget how you abandoned me in my time of need.
If you want to know what it’s like to be the wife of a tugboat captain, this is a fairly accurate scenario.
After we hung up, I called a few exterminators and no one seemed interested in humanely trapping the little guy.
Finally, I went next door and told my neighbor about this situation because they always have grandkids around and asked him if he wanted to come over and take a look at it.
He came over and kind of shooed it with a broom under the fence into his yard and went back home.
A few minutes later he returned and said it was gone — as in GONE — as in GONE FOREVER and I owed him a pan of brownies or chocolate chip cookies or something…
I didn’t want details; I’m just glad the little guy isn’t suffering anymore.
And that’s the end of Spirit Squirrel™…. RIP little buddy.
UPDATE: On the news this morning…a segment about squirrels and the plague, referring everyone to the San Diego County Department of Health’s News Release.
SQUIRREL ON PALOMAR MOUNTAIN TESTS POSITIVE FOR PLAGUE
Campers and Hikers Warned to Take Precautions
P.S. Getting started on those brownies now.
aw….the Capt called you Rosebud in the absolute height of the incident – I heart that!
Glad you escaped (albeit narrowly) the bubonic plaque.
Don’t heart it quite completely yet, he said it with a kind of snarky tone in his voice LOL! But yes, he really does call me that, that’ the truth!
On Thu, Jun 13, 2013 at 3:29 PM, Enchanted Seashells…Confessions of a Tugbo
All the good ones have tones they add to the pet names (or at least that is what I tell myself…)
LOL 🙂 Ah yes, the language of love!
On Thu, Jun 13, 2013 at 3:51 PM, Enchanted Seashells…Confessions of a Tugbo
I’m so glad someone came to your rescue. My husband traveled for years and there were so many times the neighbors rescued me. I was willing to bake brownies for sure.
Yes, you understand how it is. We need to depend on the kindness of… I’ve got them in the oven right now!
On Thu, Jun 13, 2013 at 3:33 PM, Enchanted Seashells…Confessions of a Tugbo
Reminds me of the time our greyhound took on a prawn in our backyard … The only advice I got was catch it and cook it. Not from the Chief but from the guys listening in on our conversation.
Geez, I can believe it! I’ll bet the whole squirrel thing was part of dinner conversation LOL. Nothing like a “wife” story to bring the crew together and build morale!
On Thu, Jun 13, 2013 at 4:03 PM, Enchanted Seashells…Confessions of a Tugbo
Poor little bugger. And you are so right about the city workers. That is a game of hot potato. We had a baby skunk once near our house. The little thing was so scared. Nobody would help. We just left it, and eventually it disappeared. I was sad for days.
Hope the brownies turn out at least. I am sure they will.
He loved the brownies, I just took them next door. I am so sad, yes, can understand you’d be sad about baby skunk. Sniff.
On Thu, Jun 13, 2013 at 5:02 PM, Enchanted Seashells…Confessions of a Tugbo
Can’t believe out of all those agencies that not one didn’t want to help. Your right, our government at work. Glad that your neighbor helped!
I agree, but how sad my neighbor had to do what he did! What if no one around here knew what to do? Either I’d be stuck inside afraid to go out cos of a crazy sick animal or a hawk or owl or cat would attack it and maybe get sick themselves. It should have been handled properly by one of those agencies.
On Thu, Jun 13, 2013 at 10:21 PM, Enchanted Seashells…Confessions of a Tugbo
I totally agree and with the squirrel being sick it could have had rabies and like you said could have infected other animals of birds!
Maybe next time give the brownies to the squirrel and ask him to leave!
NOW you tell me! LOL
On Fri, Jun 14, 2013 at 6:56 AM, Enchanted Seashells…Confessions of a Tugbo
Poor little squirrel… Er, um, I mean: Poor Princess Rosebud! Having to fend for yourself like that! (Shaking my fist at the Tugboat man!) Glad your neighbor was willing and able to help you (and spirit squirrel) out. Cannot (see what I did there) believe that none of the agencies you called you were willing to help or could at least get you connected with someone who would.
When the queen and I were first dating, and I was still living in San Diego, we went for a moonlight walk down at Mission Beach (my absolute favorite beach), and we noticed something washing up on shore and then rolling back out with the tide. It was a dead seal (I think, it was pretty swollen and nearly unrecognizable as anything beyond a blob). On our way back to my car we came across some police officers doing a sweep of the parking lots and I ventured over and told them about it in case they wanted to remove it before … well, I’m not really sure before what, but it didn’t seem like something they would just want to leave out on the beach. The cops were not interested, didn’t care to pass it along to any agency that might be interested, and couldn’t even suggest who else we should tell. Awesome.
Ah, so you have experienced the apathy of bureaucracy- I cannot (see what I did there?) believe no one cared about your seal or my squirrel (two S-words!) Poor us…mean absent boat captain!
On Fri, Jun 14, 2013 at 1:55 PM, Enchanted Seashells…Confessions of a Tugbo
What a story! ~Must I apologize for giggling? I think not. 🙂
Giggle away! The poor dear and poor me for thinking I could call the city and they’d come over and rescue this creature. Now we’ve got worse problems…some neighbors had a million gophers and they didn’t do anything, now they have moved into our yard and I can’t do anything til tugman comes home. geez, i love animals and all but this is CRAZY! No wonder I shop and play with seashells all the time…
On Mon, Jun 17, 2013 at 4:05 PM, Enchanted Seashells…Confessions of a Tugbo
It’s a shame, really. Animal control is pretty good here in Albuquerque. Our problems would more likely be bears, though.
Poor bears, their habitat is dwindling, they just don’t know what to do!
On Mon, Jun 17, 2013 at 5:02 PM, Enchanted Seashells…Confessions of a Tugbo
Yes, and sadly, our drought isn’t helping their situation one bit. We get them coming pretty close to our house. They must be so very frightened and confused once they hit the city – traffic and all. Last I heard, the police cruisers carried animal tranquilizer guns so that no one (or critter) gets harmed.
That is very humane of them. I wish all law enforcement would be animal compassionate. I didn’t know you were having a drought, I should pay more attention!
On Mon, Jun 17, 2013 at 6:04 PM, Enchanted Seashells…Confessions of a Tugbo
So sorry the spirit squirrel died. We had a squirrel who camped out in our garage when we lived just outside of Edmonton. He ate through wiring, got into the walls of the house, was just generally a pain in the butt! But he was cute when he would scamper along the top of the fence too!
I’m sorry too. Thank you for your condolences. I don’t know if I’d be so sorry if he had started chewing wires, tho! You are much nicer than me, that’s for sure! Sorry for not responding sooner-I am backed up on responses!
On Mon, Jun 24, 2013 at 9:32 AM, Enchanted Seashells…Confessions of a Tugbo
Poor little guy. Of course, the one place you DIDN’T call could have figured out what was wrong, as it turns out. Geez, isn’t that always the way it turns out?
Poor little guy is right. Now we are being tormented by gophers, and I love animals, this is terrible!
On Tue, Jun 25, 2013 at 8:05 PM, Enchanted Seashells…Confessions of a Tugbo
Pingback: Gallimaufry. What’s That? Today’s Confused Hodgepodge. | Enchanted Seashells…Confessions of a Tugboat Captain's Wife