CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- My sad squirrel story last week prompted some readers to share their own squirrel tales -- all with much better endings than mine.
From David Miller, formerly of Charleston, now living the good life in Canaan Valley:
"It was a warm early-spring afternoon. We had the windows open and our jumbo Newfie puppies were in the yard. From inside I could hear one of them playing with a squeaking toy in the yard. 'Squeak, squeak, squeak' drifted in through the window when suddenly it occurred to me, 'Hey, they don't have any squeaky toys outside!'
"I ran outside and found my 9-month-old, 120-pound puppy playing with a baby squirrel. I managed to get the pup to drop the squirrel and ushered the dogs inside. Returning, I found my then-3-year-old son standing over the squirrel pup. It lay there in the driveway, barely breathing and covered in dog drool. Apparently it had fallen from its nest when the dog discovered it.
"I surmised that the most humane thing to do would be to quickly put it out of its misery, but with my 3-year-old looking up at me with giant saucer eyes, I decided on an alternate plan. Placing the squirrel in a shoebox, I explained how I would take it to the vet stating, 'They'll know what to do.' My plan wasn't to deliver the squirrel to the vet, but to remove it and to deal with it away from my son. But my son decided to come along.
"When we arrived at the vet, I passed the shoebox across the counter explaining the situation. With a smile and a wink the receptionist stated, 'We'll take care of it.' My son beamed. I was relieved. Problem solved.
"A couple months later I was back at the vet getting the pups a set of shots when the receptionist looked at me and said, 'Want your squirrel back?' Seems she'd nursed it back to health and had taken it home, where it was running around her apartment.
"Imagining a mammoth vet bill, I stammered, 'Um, ah, er, no?' She said it wasn't a problem. She'd keep it. Whew."
Although she's now retired, S.L. Samples of Clay County once worked in the same building in the Capitol Complex where I work now. Except some of the squirrels were more clever back then. Wrote Samples:
"One day I walked out of the Capitol and was coming down the steps heading back toward Building 6 when a streaking squirrel flew past me and leaped straight into one of the tall trash cans. I looked up, and sure enough, there was one of the hawks after it. That squirrel lived awhile longer, I guess. I couldn't wait around to see if he escaped, but his leap into the can was spectacular."
Samples also shared a squirrel story her sister sent her back in 2005. It's one of those passed-around-the-Internet stories you want to be true. It was too long to share in its entirety, so what follows is an abbreviated version: