15 July 2013

When it ends up in the toilet

It seems that TSS - Toilet Squirrel Syndrome - has reared its watery head once more. If one is to believe the news reports, finding a squirrel in one's toilet is quickly becoming as commonplace as discovering a drippy faucet.

The latest toilet squirrel arrives by way of Canada, where a woman in Winnipeg, alerted by her dogs to a commotion in the commode, lifted the lid to find a drenched creature engaged in an unsuccessful struggle to climb out. Quick-thinking and compassionate, she fished the squirrel out with barbecue tongs, gently and mercifully rinsed him off in her bathtub with a small scoop of water, then set him free.

It is unclear how (or even why) the squirrel ended up a prisoner of the plumbing. Clearly he hadn't been looking for walnuts. This - like all the other toilet squirrels before - remains one of life's mysteries. The woman's concern and presence of mind saved a life (and her careful rinse job hopefully rescued some of the squirrel's dignity as well).

The story was widely covered by various news media, including MSN.com, the Vancouver Sun and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. However, a later news account of this on the CBC website could not leave well enough alone. After relating a somewhat responsible account of the odd sequence of events leading to this highly unusual rescue, CBC chose to create a poll, asking its online readership a most critical, life-altering question: "What would you do if you found a squirrel in your toilet?"

The CBC staff then offered a choice among four pre-selected answers: 1. Get out the BBQ tongs, 2. Rescue it and enjoy my new pet, 3. Free it, 4. Flush!

Clearly Canada's oldest and most respected national broadcast network needs desperately to believe it can be cute, even if it means taking cheap shots at a small, frightened creature.

Fortunately, the little squirrel who'd encountered the kind Winnipeg homeowner managed to be rescued from the depths of the toilet.

The same cannot be said for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.