Randall Gerard writes back...

Location: Out West

An old-fashioned guy grappling with new-fangled ways.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Welfare Squirrels

I took Annie the repentant stray dog for a long walk in the park today. She just loves the snow. As we were walking, we noticed another pedestrian on the same path who was feeding the squirrels. Personally, I don't do this because I believe it harms wild animals in the long run. They seem to lose the fear of people that is so necessary to their survival. Anyway, we were watching this elderly woman, who was surrounded by about 6 squirrels, scatter peanuts on the ground. When the bag was empty, she tried to walk away and the squirrels followed on her heals, and one of them tried to climb the back of her long coat!

Annie was straining at the leash anyway, so I released her and she charged in, quickly scattering the tree rats and driving them into the surrounding trees. It was great fun to watch, but boy those squirrels were furious! They scolded her and me too, but we kept them in the trees until the old woman was well away from them. Later, we caught up with her and asked if she was O.k. She said she was, but she also said she wouldn't be feeding the squirrels anymore. I heartily agreed with her and reminded her how lucky she was that the squirrels weren't bears!

I guess humans aren't the only animals who become dependant on hand-outs, and then grow indignant when their 'entitlements' are taken away. A golfer friend I know had a squirrel crawl into his cooler after his sandwich one day, and he almost got bit running it off. I've seen ducks and geese become aggressive with children who were feeding them stale bread crumbs. They would peck them if they weren't scattering the bread fast enough! They behaved just like many did in New Orleans, after Katrina. It really makes you wonder what's going to happen when our welfare state collapses and the bag is empty. Charity without accountability isn't loving at all; it's nothing but a recipe for violence in the long run. I hope we won't have to learn this lesson the hard way, but I'm not optimistic.

First day of Spring, my foot...

A spring snowstorm hit our area with about a foot of heavy, wet snow, closing highways and snarling traffic, but also bringing much needed moisture. I'm so jealous of everyone out there making garden plans, mowing their lawns and enjoying the first flowers of spring.

Oh well. The delay will only serve to make spring that much sweeter when it finally arrives in reality; and not just according to the calendar.