Hobo's blog

Hobo Hudson, business dog, author and farmer, shares his latest news and stories about his life and gives prudent advice to his fellow dogs, cats and other animals—humans included.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Doggy humor: The refugees—Part 1

By Hobo Hudson

I was dozing on the back of the sofa in our living room, peeking out through the window now and then to make certain everything was all right in my front yard, when I heard a tiny scratching sound at the front door. Pushing the sheer curtains out of my face and pressing my nose against the windowpane, I saw a very scraggly mother squirrel with her daughter that appeared to be about 1 month old sitting on the door step of the house.

I jumped down from the sofa and opened the door. In a hesitant voice, the mother squirrel said, “I really hate to disturb you, but would you mind if my daughter and I harvest the seeds out of the grapefruits on the ground at the tree out front? We’re starving and you’re our last hope.”

“Of course I don’t mind,” I said, “but I can do much better than that for you. Just stay where you are for a minute, and I’ll bring you a little something to eat, and then I’ll show you my cafeteria out back.”

I quickly loped to the kitchen and came back with a paw full of peanuts. “Try these as an appetizer,” I said as I halved them between the mother and the daughter.

The mother squirrel frowned and suspiciously eying her half, said, “What’s this? I’ve never seen anything like this.”

“Those are peanuts,” I said. “They’re delicious. Try one.”

“Pee nuts?” she asked.

“No. Pea nuts,” I repeated. “They grow underground, and you have to bite them open to get at the nut inside.”

“I’ve never heard of such a thing, but I’m desperate, and I’ll eat anything right now,” she said while she turned one peanut over and over with her paws worn-out from heavy work. Then, quickly biting the end off, she extracted the nut and took a tentative bite, and an expression of pure bliss came over her face. “This is the greatest thing I’ve ever tasted,” she said. “I didn’t know anything this good existed. Go ahead, child,” she encouraged her daughter, hovering behind her, “do what the gentledog said and bite the treat open and eat the pieces you see inside, just like I do.”

The little squirrel watched her mom with big eyes and followed her lead. Once she had cracked one peanut and found the nuts inside, she cracked another one and another one, munching happily on the scrumptious treasures the open shells revealed.

After both squirrels finished eating the few peanuts I had brought, I suggested we lounge for a few minutes in front of the house. I wanted them to digest the light meal I had provided before I showed them the bounty of food I kept in the back yard. Since they hadn’t eaten anything for quite a while, I didn’t want them to eat too much too soon.

When we had stretched out on the grass under the living room window in the shade of a few bushes, the mother squirrel began to relate the sad story of her life. It seemed as though she owned an oak tree at the edge of a large corn farm about six miles east of my home and had gleaning privileges over the entire corn field. Between the corn and the acorns she was able to cache, she had been living a nice life until the drought struck. There were no acorns this year, and the corn didn’t even come up.

She began harvesting what little grass and weed seeds she could find and supplementing those with a carefully doled out ration of corn or acorns she had left, but, as her pantry emptied, she reluctantly came to the conclusion that she would have to leave the home she treasured and relocate. She packed up her dwindling supply of corn, acorns and various seeds, and she and her daughter headed west in search of a better life.

As she and her daughter traveled westward, the conditions didn’t get any better, and her knapsack was empty by the time she reached the front yard of my home and saw the few old grapefruit on the ground under the tree. Hoping against hope that I wouldn’t chase her off, she finally mustered the courage to scratch at the front door of my house.

My heart went out to this poor mother, and I knew that I would be doing the right thing by giving her free lunches until she got back on the feet. I told mother and daughter to follow me to the back yard where I showed them the post attached at the corner of the sundeck to climb to enter my cafeteria.

When we neared the post, the mother squirrel and her daughter stared at the large pile of small corn kernels and small peanuts on the grass at the base of the post. “Wow,” they both cried, “there’s enough food piled up here to last us years.”

“The best ones are up top,” I said. “Climb up there and have a taste. My dad just refilled the dish with fresh food.”

With two jumps, onto the sundeck and onto the rail, mother and daughter got hold of the post and clambered to the top.

They slithered around the dish, eyeing and smelling the plump kernels of corn, the chunky peanuts and the shiny sunflower seeds. “Don’t you dare touch any of these delicacies while the perfectly good food on the grass might spoil,” I heard the mother squirrel hissing at her daughter, and nipping at her daughter’s paws, she vaulted with her back to the ground at my feet.

“My regular customers just toss the small kernels of corn and the peanuts with only one or two nuts inside down here so they can reach the large ones,” I said to the mother squirrel.

“What a waste,” she exclaimed. “My daughter and I will just sit here in the grass and eat these kernels and peanuts. Waste not, want not, I always say.”

This was sure a refreshing change of attitude compared to the squirrels that had thrived on free handouts because they couldn’t pay. I guess having to work for a living makes a difference in your attitude.

To be continued




My name is Hobo Hudson. I’ve always considered myself a terrier mix, and I’m going to leave it at that. I used to share my mom’s website writing about my life, but Mom’s stories somehow got in my way. So, I deemed it more appropriate to open my own blog, which also allows me to engage my siblings in writing posts if I’m running short on time. After all, I’m a busy dog. My mom helps me with my blog now and then, but I think it’s only to safeguard my good reputation. Her website, newsandtales.com, contains some great stories.
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Bruny Hudson
Bruny Hudson, manager and editor of Newsandtales.com, assists as a consultant with Hobo’s blog.
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