Monday, March 5, 2012

Stuck on Bernie: an afternoon in the park

Bernie Goetz with his power pet Creme Puff
 What's a power pet? Well ask yourself: what pet will sit quietly and peacefully on your shoulder while you engage in any manner of undecipherable actions?
Maybe a boa constrictor. Certainly not your average cat or dog. What pet wouldn't panic if a car suddenly sped by, or a barking dog passed? What pet would just sit there on your shoulder? And have the patience to stay put for hours,  not making a fuss, even if it got bored or sleepy? Why that would be a squirrel! And  not just any squirrel, but a well brought up squirrel like Creme Puff , who is the perfect pet -- a power pet!

Creme Puff is stuck on Bernie
Creme Puff  (CP for short) is attached to Bernie in more ways than one. He likes to ride around on Bernie's shoulder, and is also emotionally bonded; he gets mad when Bernie leaves him behind these days. 

Everyone knows that squirrels are high strung. When I'm feeding them just the slight rustling of the plastic bag of peanuts is enough to send them skittering up the tree. So it's amazing to see how CP stays so cool, calm and collected when he and Bernie go out for a walk in the great outdoors.

ho hum - just another walk in the park.  

Creating a Buzz in PCV
Here come the papparazzi!  Some people think a PCV squirrel has just hopped onto Bernie. He has to explain to them that CP is his pet.

uh oh, and here comes the fuzz!

Are we getting a ticket?

No way!

The guard merely wants to chat. He tells about how they used to catch squirrels when he was living in Trinidad, and take them out for walks on a chain. Bernie says that he doesn't use chains or any kind of leash. You don't need one with a power pet! CP is free to jump down any time. The first few times he did go exploring on the ground, but now he prefers to stay on Bernie's shoulder.

Bernie is a master at exposing his pet squirrels to the outdoors. Many squirrel owners are afraid to take their squirrels outside, much less let them  run free. Bernie used to have a pet named Haystacks who would go out to play with other squirrels in Union Square Park, and then in the evening Bernie would come by to pick him up and take him home. This worked fine for a long time, until one day Haystacks decided that he'd rather stay outside 
permanently. It was his call. Bernie's squirrels have freedom of choice.

Time for a snack
The outdoors stimulates a squirrel's appetite

Tea for Two: breaking out the avocado
Go ahead, Dad... enjoy! I'll wait...

Now for a little kiss
Getting drowsy...
siesta time?
 CP zones out... he goes into an alpha state and becomes totally relaxed. 
he can even fall asleep


OK - all are fed now... time to go
Getting CP into his carrier proves to be a bit of a challenge...

squeak... squeal... growl!

Easy does it..

Detaching from the command module

in you go (that's a good little squirrel)

Anyone who wants suggestions on how to feed, raise, or treat squirrels can email Bernie at


  1. Absolutely amazing! I wish my cats were as tame as that squirrel. Why does the government dictate which animal species are wild? Shows you can tame many more "wild animals" that I had thought.

  2. Beautiful....just plain beautiful..Thank you Bernie for sharing your history with us.