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08-22-09, 03:40 PM #1
Passersby try to rescue injured squirrel in Los Angeles
Jeff Solomon and his friend Greg had spent the night at a LACMA screening of Coup de Torchon, the Bernard Tavernier adaptation of Jim Thompson’s Pop. 1280. Solomon, a writer who teaches at the University of Redlands, was looking forward to taking a new position at Minnesota’s St. Olaf College this fall. As the two walked home from their car, Solomon thought the night was winding down. Yet he was about to be whipsawed by fate, much like a Thompson pulp-novel character who is lulled into complacency before a storm strikes and his world is turned upside down.
They approached their apartment building about 11 p.m. That’s when they saw it. Near Fourth and Detroit streets, a live squirrel lay on the green space between the sidewalk and curb. Solomon approached the rodent and thought it odd that it didn’t run away.
“Then I saw he was panting,” Solomon recalls. But there was more. “He had this bobbing-head thing going on, too.”
It was then that Solomon remembered the Xeroxed flyers tacked all around his building. “Injured Squirrel,” the flyers had announced, followed by instructions: “If you see an injured squirrel, please call Amy.” Solomon did just that now, but couldn’t get through. It was getting late and decisions had to be made.
“It was clear the squirrel was injured because it couldn’t run away,” Solomon says. “So it was freaking out. I felt I was obliged to stay. But by staying I had entered the secret world of animal rescue.”
At this time of night it’s not uncommon for locals to be walking their dogs. Now it seemed that every woman on the block was heading toward the two men who were standing vigil over the squirrel.
“It’s dark,” Solomon explains. “All these single women are walking their dogs and we had to go up to them — but standing 6 feet back — and say, ‘Excuse me, there’s an injured squirrel ahead, please walk around it.’”
Solomon and Greg discovered they had little trouble persuading the women to cross the street to go around them — no one wanted to get near the two men illuminated by streetlight. Finally Jeff got through to the woman who’d posted the flyers. But if Solomon thought they could hand over the squirrel to Amy, he was in for a disappointment.
“I’d come over,” Amy said, “but I have 15 kittens in my bathroom. Let me make some phone calls.” She was able to give Solomon and Greg guidance, however, and advised them to cover the squirrel with a box — this would calm the creature.
“Greg got a box and we put it over the squirrel,” Solomon remembers. “It didn’t move at first, but after 10 minutes it regained the power of movement and started moving the box around on the green spot.”
Solomon and Greg were now 40 minutes into the crisis. Finally Amy called.
“I’ve got hold of the night animal-control guy who’s dealing with a possum-control situation,” Amy told Solomon. “But as soon as he’s finished he’ll be right over.”
Another half-hour passed and Solomon had to admit that in the middle of this Good Samaritan fable he was getting hungry. All he could chew on, however, was the irony that Amy, who had posted the flyers, had never actually seen the squirrel. She had heard about the animal from a third party — a person she referred to as “Baby Bird Woman” — who moments ago had put Amy in touch with the night animal-control guy grappling with a possum situation. As precious time passed, the men decided to ration their energy by trading 20-minute shifts watching the squirrel — or the box that covered it.
Then, what looked like a catering truck made its way to Solomon. It was the animal-control officer, who emerged, dressed in full gear.
“He was like Andy Griffith,” Solomon recalls, presumably referring to the actor’s Mayberry period. Nevertheless, the man from animal control was a take-charge individual and now examined the squirrel in his gloved hands.
“He looks at his head bobbing,” Solomon remembers, “and says, ‘The squirrel has neurological damage. But I’ll take it to the squirrel expert in Calabasas right away.’ ”
And with that, the night animal-control guy was gone, taking with him the source of an evening’s excitement. To this day Solomon cannot say why he helped the squirrel.
“It seemed disrespectful to let it die,” Solomon reflects. “And it wasn’t cute — it was clearly suffering and quite big. It was nice that these six people came together to save this squirrel. But there was no way I would’ve done this to save a homeless person. I’m not particularly nice."
Los Angeles LA Vida - Suffering Squirrel Stirs Consciences Near Fourth and Detroit - page 1
Suffering Squirrel Stirs Consciences Near Fourth and Detroit
By Steven Mikulan
Published on August 19, 2009 at 6:33pm
08-22-09, 05:56 PM #2
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