A young teen girl however, was slightly traumatized for a few minutes.
So the other day, it was sunny and nice and spring-like out. I lured Maura away from the crackTab and all it’s Netflix with “Why don’t you play outside? Look! I have bubbles!”
Maura loves outside, and loves bubbles.
Of course, the dogs ran out with her. Miriam followed suit to help Maura with the bubbles and play with dogs. I felt like, for one brief moment, I was winning at this parenting thing a little.
Then Miriam came to the door with a worried look to announce “Moooom, I think Zoey caught a squirrel!”
Those of you who follow along (you know, my favorites) know that Zoey the Big Dog has been slightly obsessed with squirrels. There were none in Ireland. Here, we have about 250 running through our yard. Okay, I exaggerate a little, but I swear, the other day, there were five on my fence. So I expect more, smaller squirrels in a couple months.
Zoey loves to chase squirrels. Maybe she wants to just herd them – she is an Australian Shepherd. Herding is in her blood.
But to catch one?
I had visions of Zoey with a half-dead squirrel in her mouth and my good mom moment was over – because I was NOT going out where there was a half-dead squirrel in a dog’s mouth! Ew. But then Zoey trotted by, squirrelless, and I asked Miriam where this supposedly dead squirrel was.
“Over there.” she pointed, towards the fence.
“Okay, let’s all go play out front!” I announced, grabbing bubbles and dolls. Miriam followed suit immediately, helping me grab stuff. Maura balked.
Maura didn’t understand why her mom and sister were fleeing the backyard. Mim explained to Maura that they were going to blow bubbles out front. Yes, Miriam earns that gold star a lot.
I glanced over, to where I expected to see a dying bloody lump of squirrel. I didn’t see that, but I did see this up in the neglected landscaping portion of the side yard…
My first thought was “Well, that doesn’t look too fresh.” Then I noticed it was under a fallen branch. Then I thought “Surely we would have noticed a dead squirrel in our yard before now.” I mean, it’s not like it’s snowed here and could have been hidden for weeks.
I went closer, and leaned in a little. And saw stitching on the paws. And realized what the thing on the ground was…
Maura had been on a kick where she played with all these small puppy/kitty dolls. Sometimes outside. The one cat doll got left behind, for who knows how long. Long enough to be rained upon many times and get weathered and half-buried in tree bits and resemble a dead squirrel.
“Mim! It’s just a doll!” I announced happily.
“OH!” Mim said in relief. “Thank God!”
Never were we so happy to see a forgotten doll outside. Maura was just happy that we weren’t trying to shove her back into the house anymore and went back to playing with her bubbles. The dogs remained clueless. All the squirrels were still alive, frolicking.