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Squirrel! Heidi vs. 'Sherman' [Video]

It’s been going on for weeks, months, years – Heidi’s morning battle with our cute-but-crafty resident rodent

If you saw the 2009 movie Up, you’ll remember Dug the Dog and his obsession with squirrels.  In fact, all it took for Dug and the other canine characters in the film to drop all activity and snap to attention was the sight of a squirrel, or even just the spoken word: “Squirrel!”

This squirrel-obsessed animated movie pooch resonates with any dog owner here in Studio City, where S.C. could also stand for “Squirrel Central.” We humans worry about coyotes and skunks, but our resident dogs worry about squirrels.  Squirrels clearly know this, and so devote much of their leisure time to harassing our pets.

It happens in the park, on the street, on a leash – in fact, the only time Heidi thinks it’s perfectly OK to disobey the command “Stay!” is when a squirrel has entered the picture.  She’s been scolded, put into the “down” and threatened with “no biscuit, ever” but that hasn’t stopped her from charging off after any and all squirrels in her visual range. Sure, cats are fun -- but this is personal.

Heidi also seems to believe that if she growls and jumps up and down long enough, she will eventually bounce high enough to catch a squirrel who is, say, taunting her from a telephone wire or the highest frond on a palm tree.

Sherman, our resident squirrel, knows this, deep in his tiny, insolent brain. He’s the little…animal who shows up every morning to interfere with Heidi’s breakfast routine by loudly cracking palm nuts (he sounds like an entire family of African baboons), dashing across the telephone line that stretches above our back yard or, in his more brazen moments, perching on the deck rail or even moseying across the deck itself, right in Heidi’s view: “Catch me if you can!” 

Being a shepherd, guard dog to the bone, there is no limit to the number of times Heidi will fly out of the house to try to apprehend Sherman, woof woof woof. Sometimes she blasts him with her favorite squeaky toy, but he's oblivious to this warning siren.

Heidi and I named the squirrel Sherman because we think it would be a really good idea for him to move to Sherman Oaks.  Usually he comes alone, although sometimes he trespasses with another squirrel, whom we have dubbed Berman.  We are not sure of the exact relationship between Sherman and Berman: friend, spouse, life partner, criminal accomplice. Whatever – Sherman, and sometimes Berman, seem to have it in for Heidi.

I don’t know how long squirrels live – probably not 10 years, which is how long ago a similarly pesky squirrel used to show up on the deck to harass our late cat, Chrysler.  This brazen little beast would go so far as to throw nutshells out of a tree at the our bemused 16-pound tabby, who never hurt anyone (although he occasionally would snap up a lizard or small bird and, being ever so helpful, leave it on the deck outside the sliding door in case anyone inside happened to be hungry).  Probably not the same squirrel, but Sherman is surely a descendant in this long line of incorrigible pests.

To date, Heidi has not caught Sherman, which is probably good because I don’t think she would have any idea what to do with him, and we’d really just as soon not have a wild rodent as an indoor pet.  But after stalking sneaky Sherman for several days at breakfast time, we got some footage of the perp in action (see video). So if you see Sherman – with or without Berman -- please report him immediately to the Patch for a sound scolding and possible relocation to Sherman Oaks.

Mattey's Mom December 08, 2012 at 04:55 PM
What is your hostility toward sherman oaks? A weak attempt at humor I gather. We love hate our 3 resident squirrels, known as Mr. Mrs. & Junior Squirrel although we cannot I.D. their gender. They are so amusing to watch. Herein lies the rub - they are eating most of the birdfood we fill into feeders suspended from tall posts. So far nothing I have tried stops them from scrambling up the posts & hanging upside down to reach the feeders. And they eat like pigs. Knocking on the window to scare them off is now met with a "I see you but so what?" Stare right back as they resume eating. Shooing them away works - for maybe 30 seconds. We moved here into their turf so dont want to hurt them any more than the deer, coyotes & other critters with whom we share the hillside. But I would love to hear any suggestions to dissuade them from invading the bird feeders.
Diane Haithman and Heidi December 08, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Hi Mattey's Mom! We actually would be OK with calling our squirrel "Burbank" or "Toluca Lake" as long as we could get him to move to one of those places -- but "Sherman" does work better as a name. In fact, we could call him "Sherman Oaks" and it would still make sense. But if we're really being honest, we're not sure what we'd do in the morning without the little fella (or girl, we're not sure either...) Thanks for writing, Diane and Heidi
deborah kaye December 09, 2012 at 08:01 PM
in Woodland HIlls cats are definitely more infuriating than squirrels -- ask any dog
RTSharp December 09, 2012 at 11:53 PM
The mischievous genius of a squirrel goading a dog - pure comedy. More people need to film these encounters! Squirrel videos have millions of hits on youtube. I have a small campaign on Indie Gogo centering around the survival of Red Squirrels - here's the link: http://igg.me/p/246199/x/195721 any support would be greatly appreciated :)

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