James Winslett loved the few minutes of peace he got each morning as he enjoyed his coffee and watched 20 to 30 minutes of news before taking a shower. Those few minutes were his morning meditation and quiet time. It was a time when neither of the dogs, his wife nor his son were awake. It was just him, a cup of coffee and local news.
His house was split level, that is one of those houses where almost as soon as you enter the foyer you are faced with a decision, go strait to the main level, go up to the third floor and the hall with the bedrooms or go down into the den. The den in his house was carpeted and paneled with the TV mounted in front of a very worn and comfortable couch. Peaceful would best describe it.
Today however, as James watched Matt Lauer drone on about some global warming theory James saw, out of the corner of his eye a wisp of a gray thing going around the corner where the stairs headed up to the foyer. For a moment he thought it was a shadow, a trick of his sleep filled eyes. Still, curiosity got the best of him so he followed it. Running to the stairs then around the corner he saw that same gray unidentified wisp turning to go to the next level. Whatever it was, it had reached the 3rd floor. As he topped the 3rd floor stairwell and looked down the hall and saw the tail go into his son’s room.
At this point James knew 3 things. First, the tail was real, it was a squirrel. Secondly, it was in his sleeping 4 year old son’s room. Third, that a good number of wild squirrels carry rabies or other diseases. It was that third thing that moved James from sleepy eyed stupor and curious to hero father mode. Sprinting down the hall and into his son’s room he scooped up the sleeping boy in one arm and carried him out the door, while shutting the door to prevent the escape of the vicious disease ridden creature.
He deposited the now confused and sleepy child in his bedroom and started on a plan. Going downstairs into the garage he found just the right tools. He picked up a 6 by 9 inch Tupperware container and thick work gloves. In his mind he had decided to trap the creature under the Tupperware, put something under it and carry it squirrel back outside where it could live happily ever after while not endangering more children.
He got one of his dogs, the 70 lb white German Sheppard, Klink, named after the Colonel from Hogan’s heroes. (And about that smart.) The goal was to have Klink flush out the squirrel, then fast as he could, capture it with the Tupperware. If things went south, he had the thick work gloves to keep himself from being bitten. Things did not quite go as planned.
Klink did his part. He barked and scared the squirrel out from under the bed, then out from under the desk. That is when the squirrel made a mad dash across the open floor. There was no where to hide. James took that Tupperware container and slammed it down. The squirrel was lightening fast. Strike and miss!
By now Klink was fully on duty and once again the squirrel made a mad dash across the open space. This time James was ready. BLAM!!! The container slammed down onto the floor catching the squirrel. Actually, it had only caught the back end of beast. James’ first instinct was to hold the creature there and push him back under the container with his gloved hand. Sadly, there was no need. The Tupperware had been lethal. James’ catch and release program had turned into an impromptu squirrel memorial service. He carried the carcass outside, said a few words and returned it to the thickets from whence it most likely originated.
I am sure there a many lessons to be learned from this. Best laid plans, how not to use quiet time, etc. It has been over ten years so I think PETA will no longer be able to come after James for animal cruelty. Actually, it was quick so the squirrel did not suffer. No complaint was filed. In the end one child was saved from having rabies and the dog got some exercise. So it was a good day for mankind. Less so for squirrel kind.