Saturday, June 22, 2013

Hon, get the camera and get out here to help me get this chipmunk out of my shirt!

I assume that the average American is never blessed with the opportunity to extract small woodland creatures from their undergarments.  While I'm no expert in the field, I can wholeheartedly endorse the idea that it's far easier to do so with the aid of an assistant.  Things get especially complicated when the terrified creature chooses to Velcro itself to one's bra, right in the middle of one's back.

It all started innocently enough - I was getting ready to light the grill for lunch while our white Lab, Bo, did his thing in the yard.  I heard a chipmunk's chirp of alarm, and when I looked in that direction I saw the dog attempting to crawl underneath a folded seat cushion.  While the dog's head was covered by one side of the cushion, a chipmunk darted out from under the other side of the cushion and hid himself in the grass patch near where I was standing.  I had thoughtfully left it unmowed, so much so that he would have had no problem hiding his entire family there with him.  Bo continued searching for the chipmunk beneath the cushion, so had it remained still it probably would have been in no danger.

As I watched, the grass shook in places and I was able to mark the chipmunk's progress away from the dog and toward my feet.  I was wearing sandals and figured it would be just my luck that he was going to run across my feet on his way to the big tree in our yard.  He finally emerged from the grass about 6" from my toes, and instead of running over my feet he jumped onto the nearest "tree" - my pant leg!

Instead of going into a full-on panic, I was still attempting to remain as low-key as possible to not attract the attention of the dog. He has gotten quite good at catching the small animals that the cats had already maimed and playing 'Keep Away From Mom' while I yelled at him to drop it.  I understand that Nature can be cruel and that there will always be predator and prey, but I also believe in a fast and merciful kill - a concept that my dog does not grasp.

So instead of yelling, I say in a hushed voice to this chipmunk (that I'm attempting not to startle), "hey little guy, I'm not a tree, try that one over there."  I also helpfully move my eyes in the direction of the tree I'm referring to, in case the creature doesn't understand 'lunaticspeak'.

Bo, always attentive to Mom, abandons the cushion and trots over to see who I'm talking to.  The chipmunk, alarmed by the approach of the dog, darts the rest of the way up my leg and underneath the hem of my t-shirt.  Still in "OMG must save the forest" mode, I bring my hand down to cover the chipmunk and shield him from the dog.  This gives him an additional foothold and I soon find myself staring down at what appears to be a migrating tumor on my abdomen.  I gingerly waddle over to the house and send the dog inside, just in case my 'tumor' decides to go racing across the yard.

Still H3ll-bent on getting this chipmunk out of harm's way, I make my way over to the tree that he had failed to locate earlier.  By this time he has moved to my t-shirt's armpit and I moved my arm out to the tree trunk to build him a little cotton "bridge" to safety out of my sleeve.  Possibly spooked by the idea of "heading toward the light", instead of exiting my shirt via the sleeve he begins to use the fabric of my bra to traverse my rib cage until he is perfectly between my shoulder blades and impossible to reach.  It's at this point that I decide perhaps an assistant would be of some value, so I once again made my way to the front door.

"Hon, get the camera and get out here to help me get this chipmunk out of my shirt!"  I'm not sure whether I should be disturbed by the fact that my husband didn't seem particularly alarmed by my request, and not once did he ask me how I managed to acquire my new little friend.  Instead, he dutifully followed me out to the yard and simply asked "what do you need me to do?"  The chipmunk refused to budge until my husband had completely uncovered him and then finally had to shoo him toward the tree with his hand.  Sadly, we didn't have a good opportunity for pictures before my new friend had run screaming toward the forest, or you can be sure I would need to share them.  I thanked my husband, he went back into the house, and I went back to lighting the grill.  Just another average day on the farm.