Sayonara, Mr. Squirrel

I have a rich inner life. That is to say, I’m a bit strange.

The things that interest others, I could care less about. Fashion, sports, television, and the newest restaurant? Yawn. Give me a jigsaw puzzle, access to a medical journal, or history documentaries, however, and I’ll disappear for days at a time.

One of my favorite personal idiosyncrasies is my unrelenting glee when encountering wildlife.

On a monthly basis, it seems, my boyfriend and I capture an injured or abandoned creature and make the trek down to the wildlife rescue. We go on a walk around the neighborhood several times per day. On a monthly basis, we see roadrunners, coyotes, and javalinas. On a daily basis, we see bunnies, quail, hawks, gila woodpeckers, wild parakeets, and a variety of other birds.

But none of the critters compare to the magical Mr. Squirrel!

Allow me to explain. Last year, while driving home, I shouted, “squirrel!” as we drove down our street. A press of the brakes, a sideways glance, and a chuckle. I described, in detail, what I had seen traipsing across the brick wall. I was accused of imagining it.

The Arizona gray squirrel likes canyons and forests. You’ll see them at the Grand Canyon, the Mogollon Rim, and other forested areas. Busy-tailed squirrels don’t live in the high desert.

Every few months, I would enthusiastically point as I yelled “It’s Mr. Squirrel!” And for months, my boyfriend teased me over my imaginary friend.

Eventually, while my boyfriend was out, I received a text. It was a picture of Mr. Squirrel. My mythical companion was, in fact, real.

Between the two of us, my boyfriend and I have lived in Phoenix for 77 years. This little fellow was the first and only squirrel either of us had ever seen. Thus, he was my favorite mythical, magical, wizardly fluff-ball.

Yesterday, on our walk, Mr. Squireel got closer than ever. He was digging his burrow and happily peeking his head out over a mound of soft dirt as we passed by. We stopped and watched him for several minutes, smiling. Usually, he would quickly duck away upon seeing us.

Later in the day, while driving home, my boyfriend slammed on the brakes and gasped. He got out of the car and went to examine something in the street.

Parked between Mr. Squirrel’s two favorite hangouts, I knew.

He hadn’t been run over. He wasn’t bleeding. But he also wasn’t breathing.

We walked back with a shovel and a box, and took Mr. Squirrel home. We buried him in the wash behind the house, pondering his mysterious origins and recalling memories of his fascinating antics.

This morning, Mr. Squirrel’s excavation site had been smoothed over and covered with gravel. It seems obvious now that the new homeowner viewed the one and only Mr. Squirrel as merely a pest to be eliminated. That breaks my heart even more than his death.

So, farewell to my wonderful, one-of-a-kind, little buddy, Mr. Squirrel.

20 thoughts on “Sayonara, Mr. Squirrel

Add yours

  1. Oh I’m so sorry about Mr Squirrel but that was very kind of you to give him a proper farewell! Encounters with wildlife, especially those that you often see, is an experience.

    I didn’t realize that roadrunners were a real thing outside of Looney Tunes. Gonna have to look it up now!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, encounters with wildlife really are an experience. I had never seen a roadrunner in real life until a year or two ago, but we have a male and a female in the neighborhood. They’re fun to watch!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m sorry about the little guy! Thanks for taking care of injured birds, etc. We do that as well. Luckily, Houston has a huge SPCA that has a wildlife center for rehab and release. I understand your heartache, not just for the loss of Mr. Squirrel but also for the fact we humans have not become better stewards of nature and its beautiful creatures.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That makes my heart swell to find another who cares for injured creatures and takes them in for care. Yes, you’ve nailed it–generally speaking, humans are not the best stewards of nature and its beautiful creatures. I try to do what I can, but I wish more people would recognize and appreciate the beauty around them.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so sorry as well. Wildlife encounters are one of the highlights of my day…and they don’t occur every day but when they do…aaah. Yesterday the hubster and I spotted two sand hill cranes nonchalantly parading through the backyard. They are such awkward looking birds that they look oddly graceful! Keep your eyes open, Erin…something new and magical awaits. 😎

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How neat! We have herons locally, with the same lanky build and awkward-yet-graceful gait and they’re so amusing to watch. “Keep your eyes open …something new and magical awaits.” Wow! This is just what I needed to read this morning. Yes, yes, yes!! πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, I love your love of animals. I’m so sorry about Mr. Squirrel. So heartbreaking when others don’t see the abundance and fun in the beauty of this world and its creatures. Sending lots of love! ❀ ❀ ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I remember moving to Tucson a few years ago, and noticing the lack of squirrels, which was strange having just come from the Northeast where there is an overabundance of them. We did make the acquaintance of Nubie, a grey cat who owned the neighborhood and visited a few houses where he partook of the dog or cat food in the dishes. He’s one of the critters I miss the most about Tucson!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, how sweet!! I once rented a one-bedroom condo and the main selling point was the resident feral cat, Ralphie, that the previous tenant had fed and loved up on. So I can empathize with your missing Nubie. It’s always so lovely to meet fellow animal lovers. πŸ’•

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Some animals possess such a powerful spirit that it is hard to ignore them, and they end up enriching our lives in ways we wouldn’t have imagined!

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: