It seems all the critters around here have had babies. We’ve seen baby squirrels, baby chipmunks (too cute) all manner of baby birds and baby bunnies. It’s been hard on Maddie. We go out into the yard, her yard, and we find it occupied. Considering what she mostly uses the yard for, I think we can all relate to the notion of occupied.
Some of the occupants scatter at the sight or sound of Maddie and her humans. Some, well the bunnies, give us the: “Can you guys go a different way? I like this spot and I’m hungry” look. We oblige. Some of the squirrels and chipmunks know that when we bring Maddie out, we are likely to be carrying peanuts. So, they come to beg.
Maddie doesn’t mind them. She either ignores them or studies them. She only tries to chase them, if they run. I guess it’s those instincts coming to life and saying: “excuse me, you are a dog!”
They all seem to know that Maddie is not much of a threat when she’s on her cot. Sitting with Maddie used to be a chance to relax. These days, we have to be vigilant – on the lookout for beggars – because some of the critters don’t seem to know that Maddie is a dog. We’ve had squirrels come close enough to put their paw on Maddie’s cot! Maddie is on a leash, but she can still cover a lot of ground. We try to distract them, hold them at bay, by tossing peanuts farther out into the yard. It works for some, but not all. Some of the squirrels aren’t very good at finding peanuts unless you hit them on the head with one (yes, we’ve done that).
We had heard that squirrels are territorial and encourage their children to find their own place. Reminds me of my dad. I’m beginning to wonder. Perhaps these squirrels have been reading about human children who are extending their stay in the nest, as it were. I think it’s about time for these guys to hit the road.
We try not to make them dependent on us. I’ve noticed them feasting on maple seeds and other typical springtime food. I think they are capable of finding food. They, also seem to be capable of storing food. Sometimes the squirrels will bury their peanut. We usually stop giving them out at that point. If they can’t find the peanut six inches off their port bow, it’s unlikely they’re going to remember the one buried in the garden. The chipmunks must be storing theirs, because they aren’t much bigger than a couple of peanuts. They fight for them, even with the squirrels, and they take them down one of the gazillion holes they’ve dug.
They are fun to watch. Maddie seems to enjoy watching them too. She alerts us too them with a kind of: “I think that guy needs a peanut” look. Not quite dog-like, but then again…Maddie.