Today we watched the craziest animal drama I’ve ever seen in the newsroom. I was sitting at my desk and saw a big flash of white light and heard a loud bang at the same time all the power went out. I looked up to see a squirrel that had just fried itself on a light pole. About 10 seconds later it dropped like a dead weight to the ground.
I was sure it had to be dead, but it started twitching and eventually raised its head and was moving around. A minute later it was dragging itself along on its front paws, obviously paralyzed in its back half. Incredibly, it dragged itself across a stretch of pavement and up the first couple feet of a hill that is covered with brush and trees.
It was an unbelievable feat of stamina for a little creature that had just gotten the electrical shock of its life.
A couple minutes later, the newsroom cat caught the scent of fried squirrel and streaked across the street to get its prize. Certainly with a paralyzed back end and all its energy spent to get as far as it had, the squirrel was now done for. But amazingly, in a short tussle with Otis the Cat, the squirrel gathered itself together and escaped up a spindly little tree.
Otis, never one to be discouraged, started climbing the trees trying to get to the injured squirrel. I’ve never seen a cat climb – and then DESCEND – trees the way that Otis did. He would wrap one leg around a sapling and then slide like a fireman the rest of the way down the trunk…only to look up, relocate the squirrel, and start his way up another tree moments later.
Meanwhile the squirrel was holding its own, staying in the upper branches of the trees that wouldn’t support Otis, moving to another tree branch any time he got too close.
I suppose it’s a lesson in triumph over adversity…or what can be accomplished through will power…or what it means to never give up even when the prize stays just out of reach. Or perhaps it was just a really cool show to watch for 20 minutes today, marveling at two creatures who were just being animals.