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If you would like to contribute to Liz’s Bike to Build at NBSS fund, click here.

I know death is inevitable and a part of the life cycle, but I really wish I could redo this morning’s walk with Hope because perhaps there would be one more free spirited squirrel scurrying  around tonight. The irony of the events of the last couple of days are unreal. Yesterday I wrote about my heroic rescue of Sam the squirrel in a blog post entitled, “Wearing Winter Hats and Saving Squirrels.” What a difference a day makes. One day heralded as a squirrel savior and the next day an accomplice to murder. Yes, that is right…my dog could be booked for 2nd degree murder today, as she accomplished her life dream of capturing and killing a squirrel, a goal she has been tirelessly working towards for the entire five years I’ve owned her.

The crime scene was a grassy hill about five feet off the paved path we were walking on in the cemetery; and the victim was completely blindsided and ambushed. It appeared the squirrel was playing a cat and mouse game with a bird because the bird was flying low right above the squirrel, who was running playfully through the field.  Unfortunately, Hope was in front of me with her leash dragging on the ground about five yards away. By the time that the danger registered in my brain, it was too late to grab Hope or step on her leash because she took off like a cheetah. When I looked around to see where the nearest tree was, I knew the squirrel’s fate was sealed because the closest tree was at least fifteen yards away. I didn’t need to look around the graves to get a clearer vantage point because I could here the shriek. I was afraid to look but when I did, I saw the squirrel in Hope’s mouth, watched her shake it…and I knew it was over for the poor unassuming creature who was just out playing catch with a feathered friend. Round 1 winner- Hope.

The complete predatory sequence was followed to the tee (eye, stalk, chase, grab-bite, kill-bite, and thankfully she stopped short of the last two…dissect and consume).  I was so frozen that I did not hit the button on Hope’s e-collar, which usually works to curb her bad behavior.  Instead I watched her come back towards me with the squirrel now latched onto her neck and Hope squealing a bit.  I didn’t know whether to run towards her or as far away from her as I could. Round 2 goes to Squirrel.

When I realized I was holding the e-collar remote in my hand, I began pressing it and shouting Hope’s name. Whether the squirrel’s bite loosened or she shook him off, I am not sure, but the squirrel found its way to the grassy knoll it was just running upon just minutes before. Now, however, it was laying on the grass appearing lifeless, with labored breath. In contrast, Hope pranced towards me as proud as a peacock, lapping the blood off her muzzle like a kid licking their last bit of ice cream on a summer day. Round 3- Hope won by knock out.

The emotions I felt were so raw and conflicted; angry at myself, upset at Hope, sad for the squirrel, and yet in awe of the whole Darwinian process. What struck me the most occurred when I looked back at the squirrel, and saw that his feathered friend had returned to offer him his Last Rites. Okay, perhaps I am being a little facetious, but not totally. The bird he was playing with returned to the scene with a friend and waited with the squirrel until he stopped breathing. I thought initially they were planning to prey on the carcass, but that was not the case at all…they eulogized him in their own way, only for about two minutes and then they flew off…and I realized then that I had just witnessed my first bird funeral.

If you would like to contribute to Liz’s Bike to Build at NBSS fund, click here.


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