Sunday, September 9, 2007

Squirrel or Gopher (this one's for you Chloe!)

For anyone that has been reading my comments, you will notice several pertaining to how "not funny" I am. These were posted by my loving, oldest daughter Chloe. Apparently she is a little ticked that I have not dedicated a story to her. I tried to explain that it isn't because I don't love her as much, it's because she isn't nearly as crazy as her sisters. But in the spirit of fairness and keeping my oldest happy, I have decided to revisit one of my favorite Summer memories: The Gopher.

It all started on a lovely summer evening. I was sitting inside relaxing (probably folding laundry because it's hard for me to sit and do nothing) and the girls were all playing peacefully in the backyard. I could hear the girls coming in and out of the house and garage, but they always do that, so I really didn't give it a second thought. Until Emma came in. She says, "Mom, I wasn't going to say anything, but I thought you should know that Chloe is trying to fix a hurt squirrel." WHAT?! I jump off the couch and run down the deck stairs to see Chloe aka: the animal whisperer, with a towel, a hose, a cat carrier and the poop scooper, standing over some half-dead creature. This is not an exaggeration, I have taken no creative licence with this, it really happened.

Anyhow, Chloe has moved the creature,(at this point, I was not sure what it was), onto a towel, yes a "good" towel, using the poop scooper, which, in looking back was rather ingenious, and she has hosed it off. Apparently it had some open wounds, enough said. So I am looking at a wet, half-dead creature, that the girls have identified as a squirrel, laying on one of my good towels. I can honestly say, I had NO idea what to do. Tom was in California, and I can tell the animal isn't long for this world, but I REALLY didn't want to be the one to finish it off, so to speak.

Meanwhile, the girls are alternately crying and blaming our dog, Stella for this injustice. Now, I am the first to admit that Stella has a bit of a weight problem. She will eat anything. The biggest problem in the "Stella ate the squirrel" theory is that Stella can't move that fast. There is no way that Stella could catch a squirrel. She can barley walk across our living room without needing to rest. As I stand there looking at this thing, I realize it is NOT a squirrel at all, it is a gopher. Not that this realization made much difference in the big picture, but I felt it was really important to be able to identify the correct species of animal dying in my back yard. So I tell the girls it's a gopher, and they explain, as only my kids can, that they are sure it is a squirrel. When I point out the obvious fact that it doesn't have tail, much less a big bushy squirrel tail, I am informed that they have already covered this, and clearly the tail was eaten by whatever attacked this gopher/squirrel. OK, fine, clearly a long winded debate about what kind of animal this is doesn't really solve anything, so I let it go, knowing I am right and it's a gopher, and move on to the next problem. What the heck do I do with it?

Oh, I failed to mention that upon arriving on the scene, I immediately sent the girls into the house to wash their hands, repeatedly. I recommended scalding hot water and any antibacterial anything they could find, followed up with a nice bleach rinse. (I am just kidding, I only thought about the bleach, I didn't really have them use it)

So back to the furry body in the back yard. At this point everyone was full of good ideas. Chloe thought we should load it into the cat carrier and take it to vet, Lili thought I should get our neighbor, and Emma thought I should call my friend that lives down the street who is a labor/delivery nurse, surley she can save it. I am pretty sure this was NOT her area of expertise. So I go with Lili's idea, go get Tom, the neighbor. Of course he isn't home. That would have been too easy. Plan B: Get my friend, the nurses husband to come help. So we all trek down the street to ask for help, now just to clarify, had the gopher been all the way dead, I could have managed to get it to the trash can, probably. But seeing as this thing still had a little life left in it, I could not bring myself to put it in the trash can. Besides the fact that I would have felt horribly guilty for not giving it a chance to live, I was afraid it would manage to miraculously heal itself and attack me the next time I opened the trash can lid. Irrational maybe, but this is me we are dealing with. So we go to ask Mike the neighbor for help, but he was not available right then, so I tell his daughter to have him come down when he can. Somehow this turned into an "emergency" at our house and the next thing I know, Mike is in my backyard, ready for a horrible disaster. Needless to say, a half dead gopher didn't qualify. The good news was,(at least for me it was good news, in hind sight the gopher was probably not too happy) by the time we got back to our yard, the little creature had passed onto a better place, (it had died), so all Mike had to do was confirm that it was indeed a gopher, (I still felt the need to be right), and dispose of the body. He was very nice, even asking me if I would like the towel back. Um, no thanks. There isn't enough detergent and bleach in the whole world for me to ever use that towel again.

I then spend the next hour or so consoling my grieving daughters, who have by now bonded with their new best friend, the gopher, and dealing with the continuing resentment and blame directed towards poor Stella. Luckily, we all made it through this harrowing experience and I think we did our friends at Animal Planet proud. Maybe we should start "Animal Cops, Twin Falls."