Stangl

There’s been an ongoing war at my house between the native population and my family.

It’s been simmering for years, with each side claiming the moral high ground. There have been incidents where each side declares victory, usually followed by an uneasy truce. No atrocities have been committed, but there’s always a hint of a simmering rage.

The “natives” that I am referring to are the chipmunks who live under the garage and under the back porch. When we moved into our house six years ago, we were faintly aware of the natives. We would notice an occasional chatter, followed by a rush of leaves from the hostas as the startled chipmunks raced to the protection of their tunnels or homes, but not a whole lot more. If anything, it was amusing to watch them in the yard.

Our dogs were also very unaware of the natives, occasionally smelling where they marked their territory or reacting after they had already fled.

Yes, things were on a fairly even keel until we unknowingly escalated the range war. What we later realized what had become the “big gun” in the war arrived two years ago in the unlikely form of a golden retriever.

Willy is the name of the golden retriever. He’s the working service dog of our daughter. He has a nose that can detect subtle scents. He also hates squirrels and chipmunks. Willy comes to visit about once a month. He enjoys relaxing in our fenced in back yard, listening to nature and chasing squirrels and chipmunks.

I don’t know if Willy would know what to do if he actually caught a squirrel or chipmunk, but I assume that nature would take its course. After watching him demolish stuffed pet toys to get to the squeaker, I know I wouldn’t want to be the creature that gets caught.

The chipmunks like to be on the back step of the porch, in plain sight of the back storm door that has a full glass panel. When the weather is warm, we leave the porch open so our three cats can look out the back door.

It’s during these times that the chipmunks enjoy being on the step to taunt the cats. I’ve watched the chipmunks sun themselves on the back step, seemingly immune to the attention of the cats.

The cats have worked diligently to try to get under the rubber sweep of the door, hoping to catch a chipmunk. After seeing the two dead mice the cats found in the house last month, I wouldn’t want to be the unlucky chipmunk that gets caught.

Willy will spend some time at the window, observing the movements of squirrels before wanting to be let into the back yard. In his pursuit of squirrels, he has flushed unwitting chipmunks out into the open as well. It’s quite a sight to see.

I don’t understand what the chipmunks are saying after they are safely out of reach, but I imagine it’s something that can’t be repeated in a family newspaper.

The chipmunks survived the nesting hawks in the neighborhood this spring and I believe that they will be able to survive the monthly visits of Willy.

After all, they were there before us and I’m sure they will be there long after I am gone.

As always, I welcome your comments. You can reach me by email at tstangl@theameryfreepress.com, telephone 715-268-8101 or write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001.

Thanks for reading I’ll keep in touch. Feel free to do the same.

 

T

here’s been an ongoing war at my house between the native population and my family.

It’s been simmering for years, with each side claiming the moral high ground. There have been incidents where each side declares victory, usually followed by an uneasy truce. No atrocities have been committed, but there’s always a hint of a simmering rage.

The “natives” that I am referring to are the chipmunks who live under the garage and under the back porch. When we moved into our house six years ago, we were faintly aware of the natives. We would notice an occasional chatter, followed by a rush of leaves from the hostas as the startled chipmunks raced to the protection of their tunnels or homes, but not a whole lot more. If anything, it was amusing to watch them in the yard.

Our dogs were also very unaware of the natives, occasionally smelling where they marked their territory or reacting after they had already fled.

Yes, things were on a fairly even keel until we unknowingly escalated the range war. What we later realized what had become the “big gun” in the war arrived two years ago in the unlikely form of a golden retriever.

Willy is the name of the golden retriever. He’s the working service dog of our daughter. He has a nose that can detect subtle scents. He also hates squirrels and chipmunks. Willy comes to visit about once a month. He enjoys relaxing in our fenced in back yard, listening to nature and chasing squirrels and chipmunks.

I don’t know if Willy would know what to do if he actually caught a squirrel or chipmunk, but I assume that nature would take its course. After watching him demolish stuffed pet toys to get to the squeaker, I know I wouldn’t want to be the creature that gets caught.

The chipmunks like to be on the back step of the porch, in plain sight of the back storm door that has a full glass panel. When the weather is warm, we leave the porch open so our three cats can look out the back door.

It’s during these times that the chipmunks enjoy being on the step to taunt the cats. I’ve watched the chipmunks sun themselves on the back step, seemingly immune to the attention of the cats.

The cats have worked diligently to try to get under the rubber sweep of the door, hoping to catch a chipmunk. After seeing the two dead mice the cats found in the house last month, I wouldn’t want to be the unlucky chipmunk that gets caught.

Willy will spend some time at the window, observing the movements of squirrels before wanting to be let into the back yard. In his pursuit of squirrels, he has flushed unwitting chipmunks out into the open as well. It’s quite a sight to see.

I don’t understand what the chipmunks are saying after they are safely out of reach, but I imagine it’s something that can’t be repeated in a family newspaper.

The chipmunks survived the nesting hawks in the neighborhood this spring and I believe that they will be able to survive the monthly visits of Willy.

After all, they were there before us and I’m sure they will be there long after I am gone.

As always, I welcome your comments. You can reach me by email at tstangl@theameryfreepress.com, telephone 715-268-8101 or write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001.

Thanks for reading I’ll keep in touch. Feel free to do the same.