Most times, when out walking Juliet, we never have a truly close encounter with a squirrel. Now sure, they tease and torment her, make her think she stands a chance at catching them, but it is never anything more than dreaming on her part.
The walk started like any other. We headed out of the apartment, took a hard right turn and the teasing started. A squirrel on a nearby palm tree jumped to the one next to it.
Juliet, at the base of the trees, zipped over to the second one, just in time for something to fall from it. I was concerned that maybe the squirrel had overshot its mark, but then I saw that the squirrel had a friend; the two had kicked a dead palm frond free from the top. As it fell to earth, Juliet pounced and then promptly barked and carried on.
As we came to the next building, I heard some rustling and scratching above us’ I heaved a sigh. They were at it again. The first team of squirrels had obviously signaled to the next group and they were preparing an appropriate welcome.
The scratching got louder and then I saw something plunge toward the group. I rolled my eyes. Another piece of debris, I thought The hairs on the back of my neck stood up as I realized that the object was too big to be just a palm leaf or branch.
I followed it with my eyes. It landed right smack in front of Juliet, and my jaw dropped.
The poor animal had been running across the metal roof that covered the second floor porch and had obviously lost its grip. It was now nose-to-nose with “The Monster” and things were not looking good for its survival.
Everything seemed to move in slow motion for a moment. Juliet opened her mouth wide. In fact, she opened it wider than I’d ever seen her open it. The squirrel made a critical mistake; it froze.
I pushed the lock button on Juliet’s retractable leash and heaved with all of my might. She tried to lunge forward and snap her jaw about the squirrel, but the tight leash prevented it. She closed her mouth about thin air and nothing more.
The squirrel, now free of its lethargy, moved and moved fast. It spun around one hundred and eighty degrees and took off like a rocket. Juliet, denied what she considered her rightful “meal,” was truly enraged and bolted after the poor creature.
Now, Juliet is not a big dog, but when her dander is up and her muscles are at full power, she can be quite strong. I lunged forward, right into a palm tree! The inside of my right forearm struck it, pain shot through me; she dragged me around the tree and toward a large oak.
Fortunately, that was where the race ended. The squirrel managed to get up the tree to safety; Juliet stood below and barked, as I nursed my wound. As the walk had only just started, I merely transferred the leash to my left hand and we continued on our way.
Fortunately, the rest of the walk was uneventful. I think maybe the poor squirrel passed the word to his compatriots, “Lay off the Monster for the day.” I was glad to get home and treated for my bruising. Overall, this was quite the exciting little chapter in Juliet’s unending war with the squirrels.
Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.
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