Ovation: Minsk The Rescued Squirrel.
Years ago, when I was a smoker, I would go outside periodically during the workday on a “smoke break”. Like most office buildings, ours had a designated area for employees to take their breaks but my BFF, Smoking Buddy, and I would go for walks around the building while we smoked. The sole purpose of these walks was to gossip. Even after I’d stopped smoking, I still went on these walks with Smoking Buddy because I enjoyed our time together, the stories we’d share, and the opportunity for both of us to vent about the day’s frustrations. It was therapeutic for us both.
Our office complex was somewhat upscale and included beautiful landscaping, fountains and mature trees. Our walks would take us around the large building where those inside could see us pass. There was a large pond that attracted ducks and geese and the well manicured trees attracted many types of birds. And squirrels …
There is one morning walk, in particular, that I will never forget. It was a beautiful autumn day and Smoking Buddy was wearing a cozy brown skirt, hose and a forest green-colored sports jacket. I remember thinking that she looked quite fetching that day as we chatted. We noticed a squirrel in the grass beside us and as we thought “What a brave little squirrel”, it lunged at Smoking Buddy. The little squirrel ran up her leg and jumped from her chest as if it had mistaken her for a tree. She screeched and jumped, and hopped and shook in an attempt to scare the squirrel away and keep its little claws from scratching her. One would have thought she was being attacked by a grizzly bear! [Note: The woman in above photo is not Smoking Buddy. However, the facial expression, hand gestures and posture of the model are remarkably similar to those displayed during the "attack".]
All to the amusement of colleagues watching from inside the building.
A taxi driver in Belarus has a much different squirrel tale to tell. When Pyotr Pankratau was a soldier two years ago, he came upon a weak baby squirrel that was on the verge of death. He fed the little squirrel like a baby every four hours until it returned to health.
“He was lying unconscious under the tree. There were worms in his mouth and right eye, I took them out. However, two weeks later everything got back to normal. I fed him with baby food and milk through a syringe … Then his teeth came out and he started eating himself. Half a year later I vaccinated and registered him,” Pankratau told Euro Radio.
He named the little squirrel Minsk and kept him with him throughout his military service. Now, two years later, the pair continues to be inseparable as the squirrel has taken the role of assistant cab driver. Minsk is very well-trained and, apparently, keeps to his designated areas in the cab, lying in his bed on the dashboard or peeking at his friend through the steering wheel.
“I don’t show him to everyone. I mean, what’s the point? Why disturbing him all the time? I show him to kids,” Pankratau said.
I would love for Smoking Buddy to meet little Minsk to learn, first hand, that not all cute little squirrels are in constant attack mode ready to strike at innocent passersby in the blink of an eye. I have a feeling that they’d get along nicely.
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