This past Easter Sunday was an especially pretty day here in Rome, GA. It was so nice, in fact, that after Mass, Cathy and I decided that we would go to Lowe's after lunch, pick up a few things and begin some much needed work in the yard. I had some iris that I had been wanting to get in the ground; we purchased concrete edging, top soil and compost then dug in, so to speak.
By late afternoon, we had finished that project and were relaxing out front, talking about future projects, when we heard our four year old son screaming, "Chipmunk, chipmunk !!!"
I came running towards him and discovered the reason for the screaming. A young squirrel (not a chipmunk) had jumped onto my son's back, clinging to his t-shirt. I knocked the squirrel off J.P.'s back. At first, the young squirrel ran under my wife's SUV, but then immediately came out, ran towards me and tried to jump up on my leg.
I swatted at the animal, told my son to go into the house and told my wife to fetch the garden hose. This squirrel was acting peculiar and I did not want it around the house. It had not bitten me, or my son, but I was not taking chances. It is certainly not normal squirrel behavior to run after humans and jump up on them. The idea that it might bite my four year old was something I had to take seriously.
Spraying the animal with water from the hose did the trick......or so I thought. The next morning (yesterday) J.P. came and told me that the "chipmunk" was asleep on the carport. When I went to investigate, I was sure I'd find a dead squirrel. I was wrong. The squirrel was, indeed asleep.
At some point during the morning, it had awakened and taken shelter under my van. Monday is trash pick-up day and when I went out front to retrieve the garbage can, the squirrel came running towards me from underneath the van. Now, I don't even want domesticated animals - like dogs or cats - jumping up on me. This squirrel may very well have been harmless, but the idea of a wild furry creature jumping up on me just creeps me out. I tossed the garbage can lid at it and it ran back under the Dodge Caravan.
I was at a loss as to what to do. I knew that the animal had to go; you know, animal bites, rabies, four year old child. I was determined that given another chance (like finding it asleep on the carport again) I'd have to kill it. It had eluded all my attempts of running it off our property. I didn't want to do it, but I felt I had no other option. It's a question of my child's safety.
We have a statue of St. Francis of Assisi in our front yard. OK, I thought, I'll ask the assistance of the patron saint of animals. If anyone could help solve this problem it would be St. Francis.
The last time I saw the little squirrel at our house was just before 1 PM yesterday afternoon. I was getting ready to go to work, I looked out the door and saw the squirrel come out from under the van, running after a little bird that had come onto our driveway. The bird went under the van and so did the squirrel.
When I arrived at work, I told a number of my co-workers about the squirrel and its strange behavior. Quite of few of them agreed that I would have no other choice than to kill the animal next time I had the opportunity. More than one of my co-workers thought the whole thing was too funny and I was the butt of several jokes that evening.
Just before eleven o'clock last night, as the third shift was coming into work, the door of the plant was opened and a young squirrel ran inside. One of the techs picked up the squirrel. Someone came up to me as I was clocking out and told me that Fred had caught my squirrel. I thought it was just another joke at my expense until I saw Fred walking to the time clock, holding a young squirrel as one would hold a kitten or puppy.
One fellow at work thinks this is just a coincidence; he believes that this is a different squirrel - the plant is surrounded by a wooden area, but the idea that another young squirrel (the same size, no less) climbed over or under the ten foot high fence and into the building isn't the most logical explanation to me. "My" squirrel had been hiding underneath my van; this I know for a fact. Obviously, the animal had hidden up inside the spare tire stored under the van (or some other nook) and had inadvertently ridden with me to work. At some point during the eight hour shift, it had crawled out from underneath and followed one of the third shift workers inside.
The fact that the squirrel is gone from our carport is proof enough for me that my hypothesis is the correct one. Fred now has "my" squirrel. It's safe and no longer my problem.
Thank you, St. Francis.