Ollie is a rescued black and white Shih Tzu who turned his passion for helping other pets into a popular advice column. Ask Ollie questions by emailing him at Ollie@chathamcountyline.org
I still read your great column even though it took a while for Mr. Thunder to stop scaring me (sometimes I still am.) I just wanted to let you know that you are right about not wasting your valuable advice on squirrels. They are really rats in disguise. Mom says they really are from the same family. A few years ago in the spring when Mom was outside gardening, one of those variety, a baby (and they insultingly call them pups or kits), jumped on her shoulder. She tried to shoe the brat away but it wouldn’t go. When my sister came home from work she took the brat to my Dr. Katz who gave the brat some kitten formula. Sis named it Roger (Ollie, isn’t Roger a rabbit?) and fed it until it was full grown. Well, Roger was such an ingrate, he thought the backyard was his and started jumping on me and my kitty-sister and biting us. My mom was smart and turned the garden hose on Roger and after a few blasts, he ran away from home. I didn’t like him anyway. He might be around; we don’t know. He was just a brazen brat and I am sure he was much too bold to get run over by a car. I’m glad he’s gone and that you don’t give good advice to bad rodents.
Eastern Gray squirrels are more closely related to prairie dogs than to rats, thank goodness. I personally hate rats and, as a Shih Tzu, was not bred to hunt rats although the very cute West highland terriers were. Now, I live in a house in the woods and there is no shortage of squirrels running around with their constant chatter and building of nests. They are everywhere and, since I have to lose a few pounds, I look at them as personal canine athletic trainers. I chase them all over the yard and love to see them climb trees and stay there. I can’t imagine a more unsettling nightmare than a sequel to the classic Alfred Hitchcock film, “The Birds” becoming “The Squirrels” and they becoming the predators. Imagine the horror of them turning on and attacking hawks, humans, skunks, raccoons, cats, snakes owls and dogs which means me. Well, in truth I only care about my humans and me. In the meantime, they keep me in shape and very sharp as long as I am the pursuer and not the pursued.
Your story is a good one to publish about some of the unexpected dangers of domesticating wild animals though the act is very tempting, I know.