First it was the possums, giving us up-close and personal highlights of their creepy little rodent lives. Now, there's been a death in the yard. A squirrel death.
Greta, Wondermutt #2, finally got one this morning. I wasn't sure she EVER would, she always seemed to let them go when I would watch her chase them. This morning I see one out in the back yard. Greta is laying about 15 feet away, just looking at it. I go outside and sure enough, it's dead - with pretty, brownish-gray-if-slobber-covered fur. Poor thing. Eyes still open, but dead as a doorknob.
I ignore it and move on with my day. When Samantha finally convinces me to take her out so she can look at it, late in the afternoon, the eye is all but gone, and a mass of ants is there cleaning up what may be left of their feast. Damn, those ants work fast! Gross.
Samantha wanted to touch it, and I toyed with the idea, being a country girl who, I'm certain, touched more than one dead thing in my life growing up. But I was convinced by some good friends (and my husband who absolutely forbade it) that looking was better than touching, as to avoid any negative precedents for Samantha in her future about touching things of questionable contamination levels.
Sooo, as we went out to explore Mr Dead Squirrel, we did NOT touch. She really wanted to, as I said, but I explained the kinds of germs and varmints that often live on rodents of the like. She lost interest in touching with her hands pretty quickly. Actually, more specifically, she did still want to touch, but she said "I will put on my Dora gardening gloves and THEN I will touch him, OK Mommy?" I explained that we would then have to throw away her Dora gloves, so that nixed that idea. She then moved on to "I'm gonna poke it with this stick, OK Mommy?" Uh, no, dear, as Daddy expressed with MUCH vigor when he got home, "We don't touch dead things." So we didn't. I later used the pooper scooper to dispose of Mr Dead Squirrel...
Actually she asked good questions, didn't get upset, said he was cute but never got sad about him being dead, but when she asked where I would put him, and I told her in the trash, she asked if that's where he would sleep. So CLEARLY she doesn't have a solid grasp on death overall, but that's OK. She'll get it soon enough. The second time we went out (before I cleaned him up), Jackson came, too, and Samantha ever-so-carefully took him by the hand and took him close to show him, pointing out the highlights ("See Jackson, the ants are eating his eye, because that's what ants do." and "Jackson, do you like his brown furry tail? I do!") and keeping him at a safe distance, lest the fleas and ticks get them both.
So quite the day around here, what with the squirrel murder and the ants with their eye feasting. And we were even treated to a pretty stellar lightning show tonight after the kids were in bed, and we were spared the hail that beat up some other parts of the state, so it was a good day all around.
Unless you were a squirrel in my back yard. Then, not so much.
OH, and before you go feeling TOO bad for Mr Dead Squirrel who met his end in my dog's mouth, know that they are actually quite the vicious creatures...check out what they did to my friend Deb's trash container...