11 October 2008

Sometimes they just die

There isn't much to say, or much to write just yet, except to report that one of my most favorite and cared for outdoor squirrels, a wild female who has been coming since the spring, is dead. I will miss her more than I can even convey here.

The arrival of "Snaggletooth," as we had come to call her, was chronicled in this blog because of our concern for the incisor growing directly out of the front of her face. We worried that this would cause her to starve at some point, or develop into an infection that might compromise her health. We thought we would have to trap her and get the incisor clipped - temporary remedy at best, since incisors are ever-growing.

Fortunately that never had to be an option. She came regularly, at least since April, raised a spring litter and an autumn litter (as evidenced by her teats), and was able to crack and eat nuts. She went about her business, scrapped with the toughest and the biggest of the squirrels for her rightful place at the front of the nut line - both at our front door and back door - as recently as two days ago. I watched for her every day, often making myself late for work until she showed up past her customary time. I sometimes rearranged my day so I could be here at her customary visiting times, just because she was such a delight - and always met my gaze directly with hers.

Less than an hour ago, our landscaper found her dead in the yard of the neighbor across the street. There was no mistaking who this was. There is not a mark on her body. No animal attack evident, no trauma, no fatal injury by car. It is as if she just closed her eyes, and that was that. She was, to all appearances, a healthy, full grown adult with what was obviously a minor inconvenience: her incisor which, as it turns out, was more of a problem for us than for her.

With animals, as with people, sometimes they just die. Sometimes they just die.


Cactus Jack Splash said...

I am sorry for you loss. It is good that she had you watching out for her wellfare.
I love all the squirrels that live around our place, they all have their own personalities. It is fun to sit and watch them, I never seem to have enough time to do that though.

merinz said...

My condolences to you - it is sad to lose a friend.

bernadette joolen, belletrist said...

Your writing is so lovely and gentle. This is a sad one. Sorry about that little guy.

One time, a couple of the squirrels in yard got some horrible disease that paralyzed their hindquarters and made them very vulnerable to predators. You would see them turning around to bite their backs, to try to bring things back into play.

We wanted so much to be able to tell them, to rescue them, to explain. Thinking about it was almost more than I could bear. They capture your heart, don't they?~~bernadette...

squirrelmama said...

Bernadette, you said that so well. And it is very true. The tragedy is that our world and their world don't readily mix well, and certainly not to the extent that we can easily fetch them out of harm's way, reassure them, and keep them safe for the rest of their lives.