Skip to main content

A Squirrel on the Windowsill is Worth Two in the Tree?

Sammy, Dove Inc.'s unofficial official mascot.

One of the best things for me about moving into the Anna B. Millikin home in 2007, was that my office window looks out into the garden area. Over the past few years I've grown fonder of watching the birds flit around--something my mother has done for years.

One day in the summer of 2009, I was sitting at my desk working on data entry when I heard a tiny thud. I looked over to see that a squirrel had landed on my windowsill and was peeking in at me. He walked all along the sill, and then moved back to where he'd started, and peered in again.

This is probably where I should stop and tell you that I have an affinity for rodents of all kinds. I've had guinea pigs since 2004, and at one point, fostered a hamster for a client who was in shelter. I love them. They're fuzzy and cute and squirrels are no exception.

That day I went to Wal-Mart and bought a bag of mixed bird seed. The day after, I sprinkled the seed on my windowsill and in no time at all, my squirrel friend had returned, eagerly eating the sunflower seeds and corn I'd put out for him. I promptly named him Sammy.

The food drew other creatures, of course; a pair of cardinals, lots of sparrows, and some house finches. Well, then I had to go buy a post to put up in the garden to hang bird feeders on, so I could put out thistle feed in addition to sunflower seeds. Thistle is what finches tend to prefer, according to my parents, who've been feeding them for years.

I put out two feeders to begin with, one for thistle and one for sunflowers, and I continued pouring seeds onto my windowsill for Sammy. Within two days, he'd managed to destroy the feeder the sunflower seeds were in. But he was too cute to get mad at, so I shrugged and bought a sturdier, wooden feeder.

I put food out for him and the birds every day, and before long, I'd also acquired a rabbit that ate beneath the bird feeder several days each week, and started seeing a larger variety of birds: gold finches, nuthatches, and black-capped chickadees.

Sammy's still a regular fixture in the garden. I see him every day that I'm here, and have "introduced" him to other staff and clients.

One day that winter I was at home sick with the flu, and when I came back, I was privy to hearing an amusing story. Apparently when I hadn't gone out to put food out for him and the birds, and there was snow on the ground, Sammy made his way to the door of the lounge and was staring in at the ladies. One of them reported it to a former co-worker, who went out and fed him, and relayed the story to me.

I haven't gotten close enough to hand-feed Sammy yet, but he does let me get much closer to him than I can to the other squirrels who've shown up the last few years, and even if I have my window open (with the screen still between us, of course), he'll come and eat on the windowsill and isn't bothered when I talk to him or walk by.

When clients come to my office and he is there, I jokingly tell them he is my pet squirrel. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Letter from the Executive Director of Dove, Inc.: Coordinating efforts to address unmet needs and social injustices.

Dear Friends,
The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and spring rains have started to fall.This time of refreshing the world is a time for use to reflect and re-center and think about how we live in the world through faith.One of the best ways we can do this is to join our voices, talents and funds with others in support of the less fortunate.Dove works to coordinate our efforts to make sure that people in our area who are suffering have a place to go and people who care.Together our voices mean a great deal to a person in need.
We need you to also use your voice in service as an advocate for a resolution to the State Budget Impasse.Dove continues to feel the effects of the State’s failure to appropriate for domestic violence programming in the “Stop-gap” budget for FY17.In non-payment for contracts to Dove the State of Illinois is already nearing the quarter million-dollar mark as of March.Using your voice to put pressure on our State elected officials to resolve their disputes so…

Good Mate

After spending several months on the back half of 2016 talking about abusive behaviors, we decided to take a different spin going into 2017.You see we spent a long time slowly working through and examining different forms and subtypes of abuse including the many forms of emotional abuse.This gave a very realistic look at some of the more “incognito” forms of violence that abusers get away with such as blaming, confusing behavior, corruption, destructive criticism, intimidation, isolation, manipulation, and even obsessive behavior.What we realized in closing out the year was that we had developed a very strong sense of what kind of traits and behaviors that we don’t want in our lives.On the flip side, we hadn’t really answered the question of what we do want in our lives.
It was a striking realization that while some victims of abuse started with a very pleasant life full of positive relationships, others have not been so fortunate.For those folks stuck in a life time of abusive relatio…

Letter from the Executive Director of Dove, Inc.: Coordinating efforts to address unmet needs and social injustices.

Dear Friends,
Have you ever been a goat?A head-butting, territorial, grumpy goat?I know that I have, and it’s something that I have to actively work to overcome.How do we avoid those instincts? Matthew 25 instructs us that we should put away those goatish thoughts by giving food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked, caring for the sick, and visiting the prisoner.
This December as we prepare for the celebration of the coming of our Lord, past and again, let us each look for ways to take care of the least of those amongst us.Support Dove, Inc. as we look to the future with volunteer services including Coats 4 Kids being distributed and Christmas Basket deliveries, service to our community through RSVP, BABES, MAX/DAX, and the Children’s Clothing Room, as well as our programs to shelter those touched by domestic violence and house the homeless.
If you or your organization’s members would like to learn more about supporting Dove’s mission, please re…