This past weekend has seen the middle of the summer: the half-way point (cross-quarter-day) between the summer solstice and the fall equinox. We Canadians still celebrate this hottest part of the summer with the ‘civic holiday’ on the first Monday in August.
This is an excellent time to spend with family and just enjoy the hot weather. Which is why I thought you might enjoy a funny – but true – little story of ‘dogs and squirrels’…
Our dog – a golden retriever – loves squirrels. He could watch them for hours!
For some reason nobody will quite explain to me, the dog also seems to suffer from the impression that my husband expects him to chase squirrels! (I wonder if there is a connection fact he’s always trying to get a spot on the sofa by getting the dog to get off by saying: ”Go get the squirrel! Go get it!” might have something to do with it….)
So, the dog can be lying in the back yard (trying his best to lie on top of the peanuts we toss out for the squirrels), not moving as the squirrels go right up to him and nudge him. He can lie like that for hours!
BUT! If he notices that my husband is watching him, he’ll jump right up, bouncing as if he had springs in his feet. Barking enthusiastically, he chases the squirrels up one of the two trees in the yard!
When he does this, the dog is not at all ‘hunting’.
He reserves this for the chipmunks….who seem not to realize that squeaking at the dog (like a toy) does not make him go away and leave them alone. To the contrary – he seems to think they are playing ‘fetch’ with him!
When he chases the squirrels, it is in a very playful way – the way dogs try to get other dogs to play with them. He never has the body language of a hunter – not when it comes to squirrels!
There is one place we totally do not want the squirrels to go: the back threshold.
Frankly, the squirrels have no inhibitions about crossing the back threshold…. And, as much as I like them and wish them the best, and as much as I admire self-sufficiency and independent attitude – I really, really do not cherish the idea of them coming inside my house to help themselves to ‘snacks’!
So, we always encourage our dog to ‘play chase’ with each and every one of the squirrels who is sneaking – or looks like she is thinking about sneaking - across the threshold and inside our house!
This weekend, years of dog-training by my husband have finally paid off!
Without any sort of urging on our part (without even the promise of a treat), our hound spotted a squirrel squatting on the threshold, considering if the bowl of the rabbit’s food was worth a venture inside….
Throwing off his usual lethargy, he bounced up, sprung forward and with the greatest cheer and pride, he chased the squirrel off the threshold!
The only little problem with the situation was…
The dog had been outside!
He DID chase the squirrel off the threshold – right into the dining room!
Did you know that, just like SuperMario, squirrels can do wall-kicks?