Unlikely & Unruly Pets

In this post, Phlegmmy relates a hilarious story of a run-in she had with a woman and her ill-mannered pet monkey. If you haven’t read it yet, you should. Her story reminds me of some of the more odd pets I’ve seen and the ensuing hilarity of unusual pets.

For entirely too long, I slaved worked in Hell the auto parts business. For any of you that have not worked in auto parts, do yourself a favor and avoid it. As long as there is more dignified work available, like table dancing or animal semen collection, you’re better off avoiding the politics and drama of auto parts altogether.

In auto parts retail, I worked under a store manager that acquired a most unusual pet. We had just weathered a massive rain storm that caused flooding, tree damage, and a general washing out of the entire area. He was doing some post storm cleaning when he saw several tiny rodents in a pile of leaves. Upon first glance, he thought that they were dead baby rats that had been washed out by the storm. Upon closer inspection, he realized that they were squirrel kits. Several of them were indeed dead from drowning, but two of them were still alive.

Oddly, this small distinction washed away his initial disgust and elicited his compassion for the creatures. He put them in a cardboard box with a blanket and a heat lamp and started feeding them some kind of formula. I’ve seen people attempt similar stunts. Heck, I live with someone who is prone to this type of decision. I’ve come to expect the rescued animal(s) to be in poor enough health that no amount of nursing will save them. One of his squirrels didn’t make it, but the other one returned to health and grew up.

These animals required around the clock care, and my manager was committed to the task, even bringing them to the store with him. The surviving one was dubbed “Indiana Jones” by his kids, which was shortened to “Indie” when they discovered the rodent was female. If anyone tries to tell you that squirrels aren’t smart, they clearly have little experience with them. Indie and the manager developed quite the relationship. He had a bad temper and would frequently be set off by her rodential antics. He would yell at the animal at the store, and she would respond by chattering back at him. When he attempted to grab her in anger, she would leap onto his shirt and run around his torso as a squirrel does a tree trunk in the wild. This would only escalate his anger, which only made it funnier to watch. In case you don’t already know, a squirrel is fully capable of running across your chest, around your back, up your neck, down to your ankles, and around again before you have a chance to blink. He was no match for her speed or agility, and she knew it. Part of me wanted to witness the inevitable scene in which she caused him to die from a massive heart attack.

In more peaceable times, Indie would sit on the parts counter and they’d share a bag of Chex Mix or Combos. Customers would approach the counter and point out the animal, “Um… You know that… You know that there’s a squirrel eating your chips?”

“Yeah,” he would answer, “That’s Indie. She’s my squirrel.”

Ultimately, he stuck with his original plan which was to nurse the animal to health, see that it reached maturity, and release it back into the wild. He put food and water out for Indie at first, and she did come back to see him. Her visits got less and less frequent over the next few weeks as her little mind returned to the wild. Eventually, she was reintegrated and didn’t return again.

I’m not sure that the world is a better place for one more squirrel. There are plenty of people that would prefer the world with far fewer of them. I think that Indie was good for my manager though. Sometimes, we need something to love and take care of. I have plenty of negative things that I could say about him as a person, and the tantrums that his squirrel elicited were impressive, but the experience certainly brought out the best in him. Every time my dad complains about the squirrels on his property, I think of Indie and smile.

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3 thoughts on “Unlikely & Unruly Pets

  1. @Netpackrat – squirrels or auto parts store managers? I can hardly blame you either way. 😛 I didn’t even know that you read my blog!

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