Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Squirrel Euthanasia

This story has so much potential for full development and pondering, but here are the nitty gritty details.

Casey Jones managed to catch a squirrel today, which is something our beloved Estherjen (RIP) never managed, but much attempted to do.

I was alerted to this accomplishment by the Boy, who was somewhere between mortified and delighted to report that the yellow retrieverhound was playing chew-toy with said rodent. Apparently there was thrashing about of the then-LIVE squeaky toy. And there was, apparently, squeaking.

Now it's one thing to find a mouse the cat killed, and likely toyed with for a while before it died, but this was timed right in the throes of the action sequence.

Anyway, I rushed to the aid of the rodent, sending the most-proud canine strutting joyfully into the house. As I arrived on the scene, I saw the 3D, HD version of one of those cartoons where a critter splats up against a hard surface. (Picture Skrat in Ice Age as he hits a glacier.) Arms splayed, one of them inverted in a completely unnatural direction. Back half moist with Caseyslobber, stiff. Frantic breathing, but total stillness otherwise. Beady eye glistening and wide open. Oh. My.

Honestly, my first thought was to call a wildlife rehabilitator. I am not even kidding. But then I came to my senses and realized that this poor guy was beyond rehab, or at least a prudent use of fiscal resources required to rehabilitate a dime-a-dozen creature stupid or slow or sick enough to be caught by my not-so-bright-herself mutt.

I knew it needed mercy. Husband wasn't due home for hours. I just wanted to hold it, which, boys and girls, despite everything I know about rabies and diseases and such, I did. Kori brought me an old rag; I wrapped it up and it allowed me to hold its busted little body gently, without protest. I thought about all of the life-on-the-prairie sorts of books I've read (what would Caddie Woodlawn have done?), and figured its little head needed a swift blow to ensure immediate ending to this suffering. (I did run through my mental rolodex of NRA members I knew...)

But, friends, I couldn't muster the guts. Maybe I could have, but my dear friend's beloved was willing to assist, so I didn't have to be this poor little fella's grim reaper. I almost thought I could have suffocated it, held its little nose and mouth shut, but it might have started to struggle (not okay!), and in light of recent SC news, well, you understand...

So, my neighbor is my hero today. My kids got another life lesson. And, here's the bonus, I learned a little about myself. I am only merciful-ish, and I am pretty sure I don't want to be a farmer.

RIP, little guy. And for cryin' out loud, little guy's friends, get the hint: Rat-dog lives in my yard! Go somewhere else!