By Karl Terry
Local columnist 

Our old dog recently discovered squirrels


Last updated 5/1/2021 at 4:01pm

Tom T. Hall had a lot to say about old dogs, children and watermelon wine but he only brought the children and wine into the lyrics because of the lack of a squirrel.

The best I can tell, because he was grown physically if not mentally when we got him, our dog Ranger is at least 12.

That makes the gray-muzzled beast at least 84 in human years if you go by that multiply by 7 stuff.

During those 12 years I’m pretty sure this dog had never seen a squirrel until these last few months. He has suddenly gotten onboard with this SQUIRREL thing that most dogs have in the last week.

Granted, we haven’t had squirrels in Portales until the last five years or so. And even though they were around our neighborhood, none had been foolhardy enough to set foot in the back yard, the habitat of this toothy 75-pound canine. That changed last week though.

I had recently seen this bushy-tailed invader scouting my bird feeder setup as he traipsed along the back fence. He made a regular enough showing that I felt sure the dog would detect him and chase him off the fence. He went undetected.

One morning I noticed the red-haired rascal had moved in beneath the bird feeders and was chowing down with a chow hound present somewhere in the same back yard.

That somewhere spot is usually either underneath the spruce tree if it’s sunny and warm, along the east side of the house if it’s cooler and windy or on the east side of the hot tub if it’s just windy. His old dog nap spots change depending on the weather.

One day my wife called me sure he was dead because he hadn’t moved from under the tree. When I arrived I assured her he was alive because his feet had been pointed north previously and now they were pointed south. He went to the effort of rolling over in other words.

But back to the squirrel. That first day I noticed him he heard the dog move and scampered off to the west end of the yard undetected and out into the old honey locust tree.

The next day bushy brow wasn’t so lucky. Ranger, also referred to as Bubba Gump, actually had the rascal treed and was circling the base of the smaller honey locust giving him hell.

This went on for some time with me being thoroughly entertained and the dog finally getting tired, or drunk from circling the tree. Squirrel saw his chance and high-tailed it to safety.

The little rodent hadn’t had enough seeds though and came back that evening. It had learned to be more cautious and attuned to the old dog’s movements. The dog on the other hand was learning to live and let live in the back yard ecosystem. The right sunny spot, and that nasty old squirrel can be ignored completely.

Karl Terry writes for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at:

[email protected]


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