My wife told me of a recent event. She was on a walk, one evening, with our dog, Juliet. She noticed when Juliet spotted a young squirrel, on the grass.
The squirrel made the critical error of being too far from a tree than was safe. Juliet took off. My wife was smart enough to let go of the leash; the jerk on the leash would yanked her out of her scooter.
The squirrel made a run for it. It was moot. It was too much to expect the squirrel to traverse the distance to the nearest tree before Juliet reached him and such was the case.
Juliet’s jaws closed about him, she tossed the poor creature in the air and then plopped him to the ground to stand triumphantly over him. She pinned him, with her paw and turned to my wife as if to say, “Did you see what I did? I did good. I finally caught one of those little monsters.”
My wife sighed and headed for Juliet, calling to her and trying to get her to settle down. The last thing she wanted was for Juliet to get too excited and truly tear into the poor animal. The squirrel cowered under Juliet, squeaking and whining; apparently resigned to his fate.
As my wife drew near to Juliet, all around them, up in the trees came the screech and clamor of a host of other squirrels. It was quite the chorus; it was clear they were upset and distressed. It was as if the yard was the ancient Roman Coliseum and Juliet was a gladiator performing for the cheering hordes. Based on the caterwauling, it was clear that the crowd was voting “thumbs up” for the poor little slave to be spared.
This was when the “emperor” or, maybe, I should say “empress,” intervened. Once my wife retrieved Juliet’s leash, she “talked her down,” as the saying goes. She calmly talked to Juliet, told her it was time to come along and that they needed to continue their walk.
My wife made an effort to ignore what was going on around them: the squirrels screaming and the little squirrel whimpering. It worked. Juliet took her paw off the little fellow and happily trotted off.
My wife followed along, waiting a good long time before turning to look back at the little squirrel. She was worried. Was he hurt, unable to get up.
He lay there on his back, cowering, covering his face with his little hands, letting out the occasional squeak. Suddenly, he fell silent, lowered his hands and raised his head. He stared at my wife as if to say, “Well, are you going to leave or what?”
When she kept moving and, more important, kept Juliet occupied and walking away from the little fellow, he finally knew he was safe. Rolling over, he took off, fast, scampering toward the nearest tree just as fast as he could move. It was clear he was not near death, even wounded or badly injured. He zipped up that tree in record time.
We were all quite relieved to know that the little fellow was okay. It was a small victory for Juliet. A victory, I think, that will resonate within the squirrel community for quite a while.
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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