Don't read this if you are a squirrel lover. It's not a happy story....
This is one of the big walnut trees in my backyard. It is one of about 7 trees that make up a squirrel-condo neighbourhood. There are several generations of squirrel families that call Shady Estate home. Mostly we leave them alone, and are grateful they take all the walnuts so we don't have to rake and shovel them all up. There is harmony between the creatures in our back yard.
Except that Stewy and Rocky keep forgetting that.
Last week as Boy and I were leaving for his hockey practice we noticed a big, fat, gray squirrel (the only reason I mention "big, fat" is because it distinguishes it from the other one) and a little wee black squirrel at the base of this tree. Then we noticed Stewy all hunkered down in his hunting position. I wasn't too worried at first because squirrels are fast, and they were close to the tree.
Stewy pounced on the little squirrel. Caught him and gave him a good shake in his mouth. I went screaming into the yard.
"No, Stewy! NO, NOOO"
Stewy dropped the little black squirrel and I chased him away. Then I saw that the little fella was injured. He was trying to crawl back to the tree, but he was dragging his hind end. It was pitiful.
Boy had his hockey stick in his hand still and he offered to pound it so it wouldn't suffer.
"No, no. I can't let you club him to death."
Boy ran to the shop and returned with his pellet gun.
"I can get it in one shot, mom. It's really hurt."
By this time the little squirrel had started his slow climb up the tree. Clinging by tiny little front claws with his back legs hanging.
"Okay, okay," I said, "put him out of his misery."
Boy lined up to take the shot.
"Stop, stop!" I yelled, "you can't."
"I can, mom. I can do it. Don't look. I'll tell you when it's over."
"No you can't, Boy. His mama is calling him. We've got to let him say good-bye to his mama."
Indeed, the big, fat momma squirrel was in the tree in the lowest branch chittering and calling to the little one. I just couldn't let Boy kill the baby infront of her. I told him that if the little one was still there when we got home from hockey then I would put it down. It's something only mommas understand.
Boy put down his weapon and said, "project much, mom?"
Neither squirrel was around when we got home from the arena. So now I picture a little invalid squirrel tucked away somewhere in his nest in this tree, with momma nursing him and feeding him walnut pieces.