We have squirrels in our yard. You, too? These guys act like most squirrels — running around in trees, scurrying across utility wires, rummaging in the gardens and thieving from bird feeders. We enjoy watching them go about their days. (Not too happy about them robbing from the feeders, but hey, everything has to eat.) They rarely seemed to care about us as long as we kept our distance. But now, as soon as they hear the back door open, they make a bee-line for the trees or fence. And this is the reason for their hurry —
This is Sydney, our border collie. We adopted her 10 years ago from a rescue shelter. She’s beautiful, bright, funny, full of energy and really fast. Her yard is her kingdom. And, to her way of thinking, squirrels do not belong in her kingdom. She is always on the lookout for the little intruders.
As soon as she hits the deck, she runs to the corner, sticks her head through the rails and takes a careful look around. The squirrels don’t even wait to see if she’s coming down to the yard. They take off for the gate or fence. If Syd sees a squirrel, she charges down the steps and patrols the yard. Sydney has treed many squirrels and they’re not really very happy about her interruptions to their work. She’ll sit at the base of the tree or beside the fence, just making sure they stay in their place. They stare down at her and flick their tails. It’s usually a stand-off.
Syd actually caught a squirrel once — by accident. She spotted one in the middle of the yard and bounded down the steps after it. This must have been a new visitor to our yard and didn’t understand the “game”. He hesitated just a tad too long and just made it to the tree at the same time as Sydney. She knocked it down with her paw. For a second she paused, then jumped back. There was such a bewildered look on her face. The squirrel escaped up the tree. Sydney assumed her position at the bottom of the tree, looking up and daring the squirrel to come down. The squirrel sat in the tree, chattering down at the dog. Another stand off.
I don’t think Sydney ever considered catching a squirrel. No desire for “up close and personal” contact. It’s the chase that’s important. And I think she’d prefer to keep it that way.