A Pill for You, A Peanut for Him


squirrel attack

He was such a determined little squirrel. While I worked to fill the medication box for my elderly patient, this darn squirrel stared at me through the sliding glass doors. He watched and he waited. Next to the prescription bottles was a dish filled with shelled and unshelled peanuts. My patient doted on the wild birds and squirrels that came up to her deck. Peanuts, torn pieces of stale bread, and a good brand of birdseed were items she always had handy for her friends. She worried about them. Reports of red-tailed hawks and black bears posed a threat to the inhabitants of her backyard. She kept a broom near the sliders in case she had to wack a predator away from her animals.

As I sat there, I kept seeing this squirrel looking at me. I saw my patient squirming in her seat. I knew what I had to do. I reached into the bowl of peanuts. She shook her head in consent and waved her hand towards the door. I eased the door open and quickly threw a peanut out on to the deck. Mr. Squirrel swiftly ran to claim it before a blue-jay swooped down in hopes to be the victor. While he consumed his prize, I got back to working on the pills. It didn’t take long before he was right there again. Staring. Waiting. I got what the game was going to be. I would pour a pill or two into my gloved hand and place them into the med box. I would then grab a peanut and head to the door to throw out a peanut.

My patient sat quietly with a smile on her face. I started to feel braver. Next time I went to the slider door, I opened it real slow and quickly held the peanut out to the squirrel. He grabbed it with his teeth and held it with his paws. Amazing! The squirrel’s appetite was insatiable. Other squirrels started to head over and more and more blue jays perched on deck chairs and railings. Here I was hand-feeding a squirrel when I should have been working. My job came to an end when two feisty squirrels came along and chased my little squirrel away. I sat down and worked again on the task I was there to do. I looked up at my patient. Not one to talk much, she mouthed a quick “thank you” and looked down at her hands. Feeding squirrels might not have been the reason I was there but then again maybe it was.

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