Friday, September 4, 2009

Hello, Dolly!

Dolly is a very special squirrel. Why is her name Dolly? Because that's short for Darling, and she is a darling. Due to a jaw deformity, and possible lack of teeth (I can't get in close enough to check) she has trouble chewing. So I give her soft things to eat. When we first met in July, she had pink patches all over her back where her fur was falling off. My sister said it was probably mange. Once she started getting some food in her she quickly recovered and now has quite a beautiful coat -- a reddish brown color which is perfect for fall. All the squirrels are going through color changes now, especially in their tails, which are becoming big, bushy and beautiful with stripes of various colors, but also some of the smaller ones are getting striped forelegs, which makes them look like little tigers. I guess they change colors for camouflage, to blend in with the autumn leaves.

When Dolly spies me she runs over and snuggles up to my ankles and nips on my Trader Joe's bag which she knows holds the goods. But of course she can't bite through as her teeth are pretty much non-operational. A passerby commented on Dolly's snuggling, saying she'd never seen a squirrel do that before. I told her that this was a very special squirrel!

The other day it was getting dark and I wasn't sure if it was Dolly or not, so I just threw down a peanut. She grabbed it, then just stayed there looking up at me with the peanut in her mouth, like she was waiting for me to do something. I said, "Oh, hello Dolly!" as I recognized her, and I threw down a softer shelled nut, upon which she immediately dropped the peanut and picked up the cashew! Yes, we were on the same wavelength.

She would even try to eat a peanut before she got to know me, but it would take her forever. I have to be very patient with Dolly because it usually takes a long time for her to come down from her tree. I've fed the other squirrels almost an entire bag of nuts before she makes her appearance, so she's very expensive! Then once she's there, feeding takes a long, long time. And she eats in such a funny way, lifting her head up and throwing it back, which I guess she has to do to make the food go down. She likes cherries and green grapes and Kashi cookies which to her are like all-day suckers. She really likes the pumpkin seed ones. Today she had one of her favorite treats: avocado. Between each "bite" she'd pause to look up at me with such greatfulness in her eyes, and a very green nose! I left her sucking on a kashi cookie-- she's the only one that gets them, and I hope the other squirrels don't get jealous and chase her. Some of them were circling around her when I left, but I was too hot and tired to stay another minute, and I knew Dolly would be taking her own sweet time with that cookie. Besides, they had all had plenty to eat already. But I hope they didn't start harassing her after I left.

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