By Mir
May 24, 2010

I’m really starting to feel bad for Licorice.

Look; it’s not her fault that three of us are on Prednisone. Otto and I are barely sleeping, though at the same time we’re too tired to be coherent, and as a result we’re perhaps not giving her the quality time she deserves. Chickadee isn’t quite as irritable as I remember her being from the steroids in the past, and of course her sudden appetite increase is working out well for the dog, so I guess that’s good. (“Can I have an apple? Can I have another apple? Can I give the dog a piece of this apple?”) And the fact that Monkey woke up this morning with conjunctivitis was just the icing on the crap cake for the REST of us, but when he went to pet the dog and I yelled at him to GO WASH HIS HANDS, FOR THE LOVAGOD, Licorice seemed kind of bewildered.

But none of that is actually why I feel bad for the dog.

I feel bad for the dog because she’s COMPLETELY LOST HER MIND.

My office is pretty spacious; I spend most of the day in here working, and I’m lucky enough to have enough space for my desk and bookcases and filing cabinet and even a futon couch which Licorice has more or less claimed as her toy storage area. On any given day, I sit at my desk and work, and Licorice runs from one end of the futon to the other, tossing a tennis ball for herself, until she gets tired and flops down for a long nap.

If it’s a hot day or she’s feeling a little clingy, she’ll come nap on the floor under my desk, instead. (It’s a dog’s life, man!)

At least, this is what she’s always done in the past.

Two days ago, Licorice… changed. Licorice became obsessed with the bathroom in my office.

Now, the bathroom in my office is pretty unremarkable. For one thing, it’s tiny. For another, I don’t know that she’d ever even noticed it was there before. Her crate is tucked into a corner over by the bathroom door, and we keep the bathroom door mostly closed so that it doesn’t block her crate.

But two days ago Licorice went into the bathroom and refused to come out when I called her. She sniffed all around in there and tried to stuff her snout down the air vent and poked her paws into the corners and WHINED.

We found one of her tennis balls in there, wedged behind the toilet, so we figured extracting that would be the end of it. Except that it wasn’t. Yesterday was more of the same, with her scratching and sniffing and crying and generally acting like YOU GUYS, COME ON, THE BATHROOM IS HAUNTED!!!

“We must have a mouse or something,” I said to Otto. “She smells SOMETHING in there.” Otto promised to take a closer look, but really, there’s no evidence that there’s been anything in there. We started pulling the door all the way shut to keep her out of there, but she’s utterly obsessed.

This morning I went in there and shut the door and she sat outside the door crying, and then I heard it. A scratching. Under the floor. Turns out, there’s nothing IN the bathroom; there must be a squirrel or something in the crawlspace UNDER the bathroom. She’s been able to hear it all this time and has been wondering what’s wrong with us that we can’t.

So. The question now becomes, do we try to oust whatever’s taken up residence under the floor, or do we just come to terms with this being all we ever see of the dog anymore?

She’s been like that for TWO DAYS. She won’t even snuggle on the couch with us at night when we watch TV. It’s kind of pitiful.

Once, a million years ago, when I was still married to my ex and we had the world’s spazziest dog, he (the dog, not my ex) became obsessed with the wood stove in our basement. After a couple of days we figured out there was a squirrel stuck in there, and my ex and a neighbor managed to lure it out into the dog’s crate and take it out to the woods to free it. I am forever scarred by the sight of that incredibly pissed-off squirrel hissing at us from inside the crate while the dog lost his ever lovin’ mind howling at it.

I’m not sure I can handle another squirrel extraction, people.

But I do miss seeing Licorice’s FACE.


  1. s

    k, just saying squirrels have teeth and like to scratch and chew their way in and out of places, so I’m just picturing a small furry animal findings its way into your bathroom, then your office, and you and Licorice and a squirrel all in your office… thinking an extraction may be in order!

    my brother had squirrels in the dead space in his eaves…could hear them but never really caused much concern on their end until they started chewing through wires and sheetrock and such! not nice…

    Wow, you all are really having a time of it aren’t you? Happy summer!

  2. liz

    I’m voting extraction, too..

  3. Flea

    Let a professional get rid of it. I’m usually all for DIY, but your family’s sanity is at stake here.

    The pink eye? We had a case of it here last year and chamomile tea bags ROCK. One per eye, steeped then cooled, ten minutes per eye with the damp bag. Swear by it, in conjunction with the meds. It was gone in two days. And Mae felt better INSTANTLY.

  4. elz

    Extract the squirrel. I don’t even want to think about what else might be down there that Licorice hears. Have you seen the Dirty Jobs with the exterminator people under the house-ew? shudders

  5. Karen

    I”m for the professional. Cause.. they do get pissed off, and sometimes that ends badly. And sometimes they DIE in there… and THAT ends badly with a hideous smell… in your office as well as other places. Ugh.

    Cute pic, though. Still coveting that dog.

  6. Katie in MA

    Couldn’t you just let Licorice loose in the crawlspace? Oh, okay, probably not the best idea. What about spraying the couch with eau de squirrel before family TV time? No? I’m all out of ideas, then, but goodness, you lead such a bloggable life!

  7. Jenn

    If there’s a squirrel in the same place for days running then you’ve either got a nest or a stuck squirrel. Nest means more squirrels. Stuck means a big stink is coming soon. We just had a nest of ex squirrels pulled out of our chimney. (So glad I rent!) Critter Control is national and is bound to have a branch near you. They will relocate your furry friend so you don’t have to worry about traps and poisions. You’ve got enough on your plate right now. Delegate.

  8. meghann

    If you want to be a real hippie, you’ll find a nursing mom and ask her to donate you a vial of breastmilk. You drop it in the eyes just like the medicated drops, and it works just as well.

    As for the animal. Just imagine the fact that anything making those noises probably chews. And might eventually make its way into your house. And bring its friends.

  9. Sheila

    There’s nothing for it but to move. You’ve got all this extra awake time now to pack, plus super-strength to carry the boxes, so it shouldn’t really be a problem, right?

  10. Sandra Leigh

    ROTFL! I love Sheila’s suggestion. That sounds like what I would do.

  11. Jen

    Our dear Coco is obsessed with the gophers living in the yard. There has been some sort of population explosion this spring, and for a good while, she was spending a lot of time out there, resulting in gigantic holes dug everywhere in our yard. It was not uncommon to witness her walking through the yard, or even in the course of chasing a ball or something, when she would suddenly stop and start digging madly, trying to find the gophers. The sad thing is, they will pop up just feet away from her, and while she can hear or smell that they are there somewhere, for the life of her she cannot locate them, and it drives the poor dog crazy. Over the past few weeks, she seems to have gotten over it to some degree, at least to the point that I’m not having to fill holes in the yard daily.

  12. Mary

    There were 2 elderly ladies living next to my aunt. One winter they went to Florida for a month. When the returned their house full of antiques was a shambles. Squirrels got in and chewed everything– furniture, mattresses,draperies, and wiring!
    You do know they are rodents, rights?
    Your summer is even worse than mine! Good luck!

  13. Jan

    Dude, this happened at our house and we chose to ignore it until our dog DUG A HOLE IN THE FLOOR. (OK, not actually the entire floor, but through the carpet, through the pad, and into the subfloor.) Then we called a professional and spent last year’s vacation money on having the rats “removed” <—-euphemism from our crawl space.

  14. Heather

    Ack! Get that thing GONE!

  15. Catherine

    Um, I have 2 shih-tzus, who aren’t even “real dogs.”

    They KNEW (Yes, capital letters are called for) that our home had been invaded by a possum. A Mama possum. With lots of pink, blind, hangy-on BABIES. Who could then invade our home further with their oppossum ickiness.

    The amazing Shih-Tzus crowded the door that blocked US from THEM. They whined and cried and acted like something was there even when we could not see it. They would not move unless we moved them, and then even acted like I was an abusive mom who didn’t understand.

    I didn’t understand. Thank goodness I believed them vs. my hubby. Yes, I know I swore to love, honor, and cherish HIM, but OMG! There were two shih-tzus refusing to eat or sleep until we (I) acted. He took a quick swipe at the door (I was on bed rest) and declared it “Fine.”

    Finally, I kept opening the basement door at odd times of the day and night when I was up UNTIL I saw evil Mama Possum hissing at me. Then the shih-tzus finally broke loose and barked at Mama Possum. She hissed at them and they ran away. But at least their job was done.

    Morals of this story:

    1. Make Otto investigate everything…

    2. Believe your dog….if in doubt, substitute this for #1 and then…

    3. When you investigate, be prepared to find the actual truth…

    4. Don’t scream. Call the appropriate agency….

  16. Tirzah

    Ew, I vote for getting it outta there!

  17. Brigitte

    I’m with Jenn – delegate!

  18. Megan

    Roust ’em. They chew, yes AND THEY POOP. Everywhere. Plus the little ingrates also die in most inconvenient places…

  19. Nelson's Mama

    I’m with Catherine! Listen to your Tzu…it’s probably a possum or a coon!

  20. Aimee

    I am with the majority here. Extraction is the way to go. You don’t want a squirrel/dog encounter inside the house, and you DEFINITELY don’t want bunches of squirrel babies and/or dead squirrels inside your house.

  21. Sheppitsgal

    Exterminate!! (The squirrel, not the dog) x

  22. Kris

    Dead animals in crawlspaces during hot summer months?

    Oh yeah, that’s just TEN kinds of fun! BTDT…bought the nose plugs.

  23. Annah

    Your dog’s name is Licorice? :) Love it.

  24. colleen

    Determining crawlspace occupancy is key, here. Friends closed up a crawlspace when they renovated a bathroom. They had to tear up floorboards and then wait around holding brooms as an entire possum family exited their bathroom. Have Licorice give you the all-clear before you seal the thing up.

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