It’s his job and he’s good at it.
No, he’s GREAT at it. He is focused…constantly on alert. Nobody will get in his way…he’s an animal.
Literally – he’s an animal. Charlie, to be exact. Charlie the Westie-Wanna-Be. (A story for another time.)
When he’s inside, Charlie’s main goal is to snooze in front of the fire, steal the covers on the bed and lounge on the couch – legs hanging down, smiling in his sleep.
But outside, he’s a monster.
His target? Squirrels. His goal? To rid the world of them one at a time, no matter how long it takes.
January 21st is his all-time favorite time of the year. It’s National Squirrel Day. For him it’s like winning the four-legged furry lotto. He will train for a week. Give up extra dog bones. Do extra laps in the yard. He will get into his fighting shape for this day. This is his Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Birthday and New Year’s all rolled into one magical day that celebrates the things he hates the most: squirrels. The other day I even overheard him telling the neighbor dog that he’d pick up his own dog poop for a year if he could just catch one squirrel.
He doesn’t realize it’s a day to celebrate the LIVES of the furry acrobats that eat our bird food. Nope, he thinks it is the day to get as many squirrels off the face of the planet as possible.
Now, keep in mind that Charlie has never caught a squirrel a day in his life.
He’s never even come close. But he dreams about it. I can see his little feet running as he sleeps…his mouth twitching, his whimpering voice daring the squirrels to even come into his yard. In his mind and dreams he’s caught hundreds – no thousands – of these rodents with fat, fuzzy tails.
I have realized that dogs still have to be dogs, and Charlie needs to fulfill his passion of being the Great White Hunter. We try to fool him by bringing home dog toys that look like squirrels (which must kinda work because he’s chewed the stuffing out of all of them) and we allow him to watch Animal Planet.
Once again let me reiterate that Charlie has yet to come within three yards of these fast little buggers. And if he actually caught one? Well, the poor boy would have no idea what to “do” with it if he did! And the squirrels know this. My dog is kinda smart – but so are these squirrels. They sit in the trees and chatter at him, throwing empty walnut shells and telling bad white dog jokes. But Charlie is a trooper. He has dreams. He is planning big. One day, he WILL get ahold of one of those squirrels. And, being the sweet dog that he is, when he does catch one, he will probably invite it in to share his place in front of the fire. He will tell them to go get their family and friends, and that his mom will make them a chestnut casserole for dinner.
But since I don’t believe in blowing up his dream,
I will continue to cheer him on when he flies across the yard in chase, ears blowing in the wind, looking like a small and hairy white Dumbo.
As for the Squirrels? I’ll put out extra bird food for them to steal on National Squirrel Appreciation Day.
After all, everyone deserves some love once a year – even hairy rodents.