When I started telling people I was moving to Minnesota, every single one of them mentioned the weather. Apparently, it is very cold here. </sarcasm>
What no one told me — not a single, solitary person — was that Minnesota is infested with squirrels, and the squirrels are crazy.
Were I a person without two large dogs, I might think the squirrels were cute. They play in the front yard and chase each other up and down the tree trunks. They sit on the fence and rapidly nibble on acorns. There are even black squirrels here, which I had never seen before, but find oddly majestic.
I’m not that person, though. I do in fact have two large dogs, and over the years they have made a sport of hunting the very few squirrels that dared to enter our backyard in Berkeley. I am not ashamed to say there has been some squirrel carnage in the past. It’s called natural selection, and if a squirrel is dumb enough to come into a yard reeking of dog, it deserves what it gets.
But the squirrels here are ruining everything.
As you can tell, I had a lot of dreams of what my life would be like once I got here. One of those dreams involved me, Joel and Claire taking the dogs for quick walks after dinner. Even though Cooper was pretty crappy on walks in our old ‘hood, he’s always been pretty good other places, so I daydreamed that he would miraculously be okay on this location reset.
Once again, things didn’t turn out the way I hoped, and it’s because of the damn squirrels. On our second day here, we decided to go for a walk, all five of us. We got exactly one block away before we encountered a yard with approximately 364 squirrels in it. Cooper had a complete meltdown in the street, which I’m sure our new neighbors loved. “Oh, hey! You have big dogs. Oh! One of them is a pitbull. Ooh. That pitbull cannot control himself in the face of squirrels and will clearly destroy us all.” Cooper and I went home and played ball in the yard while Joel and Claire kept walking with Huck.
Several days after that, Huck and I went on a walk just the two of us. He has pretty good self-control with critters, but on the home stretch, a squirrel casually walked through someone’s front yard, sat right down on the curb, and chewed on a nut while Huck danced and whined and pulled at his leash. As they say, that squirrel had no f**ks to give about my dog.
This morning, I sat out for a run with both dogs. I knew before I even put on my shoes that this was a mistake. I’ve been sick all week and wasn’t sure how my lungs would hold up, and I spent all yesterday cooped up in the house unpacking. My back hurt and my nose was running, and even before we started I wasn’t in the mood to deal with spazzy dogs. However, I’m running a half marathon in March and need to get miles in, and the dogs need exercise. So.
People, always go with your gut. This time we got two blocks away before a bevy of frollicking squirrels sent Cooper into a tailspin. Before I completely lost my temper, I marched him right back to the house and tossed him in the kitchen. Once he was inside, of course, he was a perfect angel with a hurt look on his face. “Why can’t I have a walk, mom?” Ugh.
Huck and I went out by ourselves and did a respectable 5k. Sadly, I think that’s the name of the game until these #*!@ squirrels go into hibernation.