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By Diana Diamond

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About this blog: So much is right — and wrong — about what is happening in Palo Alto. In this blog I want to discuss all that with you. I know many residents care about this town, and I want to explore our collective interests to help ...  (More)

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My Man vs. Squirrel

Uploaded: Apr 13, 2021
I never thought much about squirrels until I owned a dog. Dogs love these little bushy-tailed critters and have great fun unsuccessfully chasing them. But now my husband is chasing one squirrel whose most recent enjoyment (as a squirrel) is creating a big hole by chewing on our house.

My dog’s love of squirrels is innate. Every morning he sits on the family room sofa watching for squirrels running along the fence. He can actually hear them coming. Once he sees one, especially in the fall when they are searching for acorns from my back-yard oak tree, he runs out the garage dog door and chases the squirrel who already up near the top of tree. Dogs can’t climb trees. Lucky squirrels.

In the afternoon, my dog sits on the living room sofa facing the street, scanning for squirrels and people walking heir dogs. Trouble is he can’t chase squirrels out front – except vicariously.

One time when we had our first little white dog, we went to Sacramento and walked through the large tree- and squirrel-filled park in front of the Capitol. Once Sherlock spotted a squirrel, he would bark and run after the squirrel. The little critter was already smiling down at him from a tree limb. He went after another, and then another, and soon everyone sitting on blankets nearby was following his unsuccessful chases. Everyone kept on laughing and clapping for the squirrel!

Now, for my husband’s part in this squirrely story. Two weeks ago, we planted some red impatiens in the eight flower pots hanging on our side fence. Brand new soil, water and fertilizer; task completed. The next day, two of the impatiens were gone.

So husband went to the store, bought more impatiens and a rectangle of tight screening, shaped it and nailed it to the fence to protect the two rows of impatiens in pots. A beautiful, well-made screen, I told him. He smiled.

The following day two more impatiens were gone. “You don’t think like a squirrel,” I told him. The screen allowed the squirrel to jump to the fence and get the impatiens from the inside.

So he wired the top of the fence so squirrels would get a slight harmless shock if they ran on it. Impatiens problem solved; dog lost a daily hobby of chasing those squirrels that ran across the fence. Dog now gets a longer walk to “make up” for his lost morning squirrel chases.

My husband also likes ladders (is that an innate male trait?), and last week climbed on one to examine a place under the roof that he had sealed up last year. It was okay, but then he discovered a new hole in the eave under the front of the house. A squirrel had gnawed into our house. So my resolute husband got out a big piece of aluminum and, with nails and hammer in hand, covered up the hole. Success he declared.

Squirrel was smarter. He chewed through the aluminum and found his hole.

Husband was mad at squirrel, so he bought a square of steel to cover up the hole and nailed it over the squirrel’s hole on our house.

Yesterday evening, we were sitting in the living room sipping a glass of wine and lo and behold, THE squirrel was sitting on the 1st floor corner of the roof (closed up hole was near the second-floor roof). Note: Dog saw the squirrel first.

The three of us watched the squirrel run up to the e second floor, heard it scratch on something (the steel plate, I suspect), and come back to the first-floor roof edge to sit and think. Squirrel ran up again, and then came back down to think some more. Squirrel made a third trip, husband went outside to watch, dog cried because he wanted to go outside with husband to see the squirrel.

Husband came in, declared that the steel was working, the three of us watched and talked about the squirrel for the next 15 minutes, when dinner was ready.

What have we come to, I asked my husband, when we spend our entire “cocktail hour” watching and talking about a squirrel with a dismal unbushy tail.

Not sure. I will have to decide whether our conversations are really deteriorating. But I will agree that, once again, squirrel won!

Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Apr 13, 2021 at 2:13 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

Blame it on the pandemic. Unless we talk about the latest Covid numbers, vaccines, which is becoming rather boring, there is nothing to talk about.

With our social circles becoming smaller, our "off screen" time limited to those in our households, and fewer dinners with friends, we have more time to sit in our homes and look out the windows.

In the past year, we have given names to our squirrels, crows, hummingbirds and skunks. We might actually be making mistakes with the individual creatures, but they have become part of our circle and we see them a lot more often than our human friends, so why not?

Posted by DIana Diamond, a resident of Midtown,
on Apr 13, 2021 at 2:24 pm

DIana Diamond is a registered user.

You are absolutely right! I, too, see fewer people, have fewer conversations, and when we live together all day long and know what each of us is sort-of doing, there's less to "report" on each night.

So squirrels it is. I have not gotten into the "naming" stage, so you are far ahead of me. I guess.


Posted by Lauren P., a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Apr 14, 2021 at 9:59 am

Lauren P. is a registered user.

Thete are way too many crows and squirrels around here.

We trap the squirrels in our back yard and then turn them over to Palo Alto Animal Control.

Assuming they are released in some other PA neighborhood where they can eat someone else's fruits and vegetables.

Good riddance.

Posted by Chris S, a resident of Barron Park,
on Apr 14, 2021 at 10:23 am

Chris S is a registered user.

Loved the story. I am in the process of trying to squirrel proof my planters. Next, the fruit trees.
So far I am ahead.

Posted by Bob Ohlmann, a resident of Greenmeadow,
on Apr 14, 2021 at 11:31 am

Bob Ohlmann is a registered user.


I have had similar squirrel problems. I used to grow tomatoes in my side garden and had a healthy crop each year for years. The in 2018 and 2019 the tomatoes all started to disappear just before they were ripe. I put screens around them in 2019, but the holes were small enough for the squirrels to reach in and still eat most of them. So I just gave up growing tomatoes.


Posted by Online Name, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Apr 14, 2021 at 7:02 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Amplifying Bystander's point, there was a great New Yorker cartoon of a woman talking on the phone in front of her apartment window asking, "Did I tell you about the really big pigeon I saw?"

Re giving dogs a world view, we put a "pet porthole" into the wood driveway gate so they could watch the world go by. It looks like this: Web Link

Posted by Madison Wilson, a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park,
on Apr 19, 2021 at 12:55 am

Madison Wilson is a registered user.

Thank you for sharing.

Posted by Trish, a resident of another community,
on Apr 19, 2021 at 9:18 pm

Trish is a registered user.

Diana, I remember bouncy Sherlock!! Good work, Morey!!!


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