What the Hell Do You Do When Your Dog Catches a Squirrel?

Screen Shot 2013-04-30 at 1.23.12 PMI’ve been meaning to write about this since last weekend, but never got around to it. What do you do when your dog catches a squirrel, bird, rabbit, fowl, other assorted small creature?

As many of you know, Hayley is our two-year-old(ish) adopted Lab-Whippet mix. She’s fairly well-behaved – doesn’t chew things, totally house-trained, and knows most basic commands such as sit, stay, paw and kill Lochte – but she has a lot of energy. Almost too much energy. Energy that usually manifests itself by punching me in the face while I’m working, or in the yard when, God forbid, a small animal dares to enter the confines of Hayley’s Rancor Pit. I’ve been rooting for her to catch something since we got her in September. Hayley is fast, driven and an alpha, but there are enough gaps beneath the fence and other escape routes for her prey to get away, so she hadn’t caught anything other than a few mosquitos, a bumble bee (really), and the nose of Coco, the Chocolate Lab in the yard behind ours who now sports an Adidas racing stripe on his snout.

Until last Sunday.

She hadn’t caught anything… until last Sunday.

We were outside most of the day doing grownup stuff (not the Cinemax kind… the HGTV kind) when I went to get the lawnmower out of the shed and came face to face with a squirrel, Christmas Vacation-style. SQUIRREL!!!! It leapt past my ear and near Hayley, who, disappointingly, was a bit slow on the uptake. She finally spotted the prey and chased it to the perimeter, where the squirrel desperately tried to squeeze itself between the grass and the bottom of the fence. Hayley went sliding into the structure as the slippery bastard somehow found daylight. Hayley connected with one paw, but it was too late– the squirrel got away. Hayley was still 0-for-the yard. Poor thing. But now she was on high-alert. Ears back. Tail up. Head darting from side-to-side, up and down. She was ready.

She stayed like that for much of the afternoon. Eventually, I fired up the grill and forgot about her pursuit. The difference between humans and animals was never more evident than at this moment– I was gently placing prepared Kabobs loaded with red meat, poultry and seasoning on a controlled fire… and Hayley, who could have gotten some if she wanted it, was busy fortifying her torture chamber for the next poor rodent to enter her lair. I was drinking a beer… she was trying not to vomit on her own saliva. It was the great dichotomy of nature. My meat was just starting to sizzle as I gently rotated the skewer and… sqwack sqwack sqwack!!!! 

Hayley’s was fighting for its life.

She caught something.

Yes. YEEEEESSSSSSSS, I was thinking. That’s my girl! She finally got one. I could see her thrashing her head about like the animatronic from JawsGet him!! I didn’t know what she had, but the thing was on the ground and her head was bobbing and weaving like a champ as she poked the creature and looked for the kill shot. I was the proud trainer, I was Burgess Meredith, running to the back of the yard, screaming for my fighter to bring home the prize. TAKE THE BODY!!! WEAKEN THE BODY! YESHSAHEHEHRRRRHHHRRSSSS!!!!

Screen Shot 2013-04-30 at 12.05.34 PM


I got closer.


Screen Shot 2013-04-30 at 1.27.48 PMYESSS. YESSSSSS. YES!



No, no.

Oh Lord no.

It was a baby. A little tiny baby. A baby squeaking squirrel. A BSS.

It looked broken, on its back. It was still fighting. I shit you not: its little arms and legs, no longer than the head of a freshly-sharpened pencil, were punching Hayley in the snout. She was taking it because, I mean, it was a little baby squeaking squirrel and it wasn’t going to win…….. but oh God was it horrible. The little guy was making noises that could only be described as what it might sound like if you spliced Joy Behar with poorly-maintained truck brakes. Sqweeelllleeeeeqk. Sqweeelllleeeeeqk. Sqweeelllleeeeeqk. It’s mouth was open in horror as if it was begging me to pull Hayley off, which I did.

Sqweeelllleeeeeqk. Sqweeelllleeeeeqk.

We backed up a few feet. There was no blood, but Hayley was licking her chops like I had just rubbed peanut butter all over her mouth. It was at this point I could see that Kip (that’s what I named the BSS) had had both his legs broken. Naw, his lower half. His lower half was broken. Sqweeelllleeeeeqk. He turned to get away and headed for the nearby shed… but it was no use. His legs were but baggage on a tiny body of pain. Still sqweeelllleeeeeqking, Kip lurched forward, one pull at a time. He was crawling, dragging his legs and lower half behind him like Herbert’s dog from Family Guy. It was horrifying. He made it about six inches.

Together with Ms. CB, we pulled Hayley inside. I walked back toward Kip and he was looking back over his shoulder, staring me down. How could you let this happen, asshole?, I imagined him saying. I had no words. No response. I just turned my head away in shame. Sqweeelllleeeeeqk. I couldn’t watch. Sqweeelllleeeeeqk. Kip pulled himself forward, this time with a bit more determination. He wanted – needed – to get back to the shed, but unfortunately for him, the opening was at the top. He stood no chance. But he didn’t know that– squirrels don’t have memories. He neared the small ramp that leads to the shed, which is about a foot off the ground. He looked back one last time, turned forward and – oh this was awful – he proceeded to, one lurch at a time, drag himself up the ramp as if he was a victim in a bad horror movie trying to get away from a monster. He made it about halfway up (let’s call it… seven lurches) when he stopped. That was it. He had no more will. He just laid there, waiting to dieI went inside to eat.

Ms. CB’s parents and mine were over for dinner, which led to the following unfortunate succession of statements as we gathered around the table with Kip clinging to life on a shed ramp outside.

Where’s Eddie? He usually eats these goddamn things.

We can’t just leave it there.

We can drown it.

OH GOD! (everyone besides the person who suggested drowning Kip)

Our neighbor has a BB gun.

Red Ryder?

Compass in stock and that thing which tells time.

Pooper scooper?

Let’s eat.

I offered up one last suggestion: We could let Hayley back out and have nature take care of it.

But that, of course, would have been a bloody mess. Pooper scooper was the clubhouse leader going into our feast.

When we finished eating, I went back out to inspect the situation, and Kip… was gone. Vanished. I let Hayley out to see if she could find him and, after covering the entire yard, in by inch, blade of grass by blade of grass, atom by atom, she had no luck either. I don’t know what happened. There was no way he made it to the top of the shed– none. His legs were broken. I think his pelvis, too. And his will. Fucker stood no chance. There were some crows outside– he was small enough for them to get. But I don’t know. He just… vanished.

This time, we were lucky. No bloody squirrel mouthed to us as a present. But Hayley will catch another… if not now, then soon. She will. Next time it might be a grown squirrel, a bird or – gasp – a little tiny hopping baby bunny wabbit. So, I ask you, what the hell do I do when that happens?


63 Responses

  1. You try to prevent it dude…Those things could be carrying flee’s, ticks, rabies…F that man…Not worth it. It’s good that she chases them out of the yard but ideally, you don’t WANT her to catch them.

  2. …and if she does catch them, just kill them…hit them with a shovel or something. My old dog caught a ton of birds.

  3. Put it out of its misery. I personally would shoot it, but time and time again you show us you are anti gun. So… I guess a shovel is the best alternative.

  4. You serve the squirrel to your Mother In Law.Then do a line of coke off Haleys ass

  5. It can get ugly, my Chocolate Lab got a whole nest full of baby rabbits twice. You don’t want Hayley to catch an adult squirrel, they can be very nasty and will bite and can do some real damage with their claws.

  6. Drowning it is the quickest and more humane way for those things to die. We used to get mice in our house before our old development became overrun with borderline feral cats. We would use glue traps and drown the captured mice. If you let a captured mouse back outside it finds its way back in. Its quick, they suffer for 15-25 seconds and its over. Leaving it outside alive like that, a hawk/owl probably saw it and scooped it up, and your, “Kip”, probably suffered from getting devoured. Just kill it and throw it outside so it won’t suffer from other animals eating it alive.

    1. Are you psychotic? Drowning a rodent isn’t humane, it takes around a half minute to fill its lungs with water and longer for it to die. Also leaving a baby animal in your yard suffering while you go to eat is messed up. Next time take the sharpest item you have, and cut the brain stem in one motion. Just off you’re lazy ass, stop blaming you’re dog and then walking inside for lunch while something suffers in your backyard. I think of it as if it were me or something I loved. I wouldn’t want to drown it or let my something torture it. I’d kill it the fastest way I knew how and the quickest. The brain stem.

      1. Agreed. It makes me sick to think he let it suffer and went to EAT. And drowning? Humane? This really confirms my disconnect with humanity… Fucked up. Sever it’s brain stem. One hard hit wth a bat or knife. Grow humanity and put it out of at misery. BEFORE GOING TO EAT.

        1. Yeah wtf this guy was rooting for his dog to kill a mammal then let it die horrifically. Is the author insane?? Go get some therapy and compassion you ass. Cant believe people like this exist like right next door, at work, at the store… jfc

  7. A bird DEFINATELY took that squirrell and had a hearty meal. We have turkey vultures in my neck of the woods (Atlantic County, NJ), and I’ve seen them. They circle over a dead or dying animal and eventually swoop down and either tear it to pieces right there, or snatch it up to eat elsewhere.
    As for your dog…man, I know that feeling. My dog killed a BSS right in front of me during a walk one morning. He was on the LEASH! It was mortifying. Very similar to how you described it, but we didn’t stick around to see it try to crawl away. Don’t think it could have as I’m fairly certain my dog broke it’s back. Oh man, was it mortifying.

  8. Here’s what you don’t do; let the squire suffer in agony why you go and have a nice family dinner.
    Next time man up and align the heel of your boot with the squires head and quickly apply pressure. Pussy.

  9. Yeah you have to put it out of it’s misery. It’s brutal but definitely the humane way to go. Don’t let your dog eat them because she will definitely need rabies shots and tests done to make sure she didn’t get some disease. By the way you think you’ll be so proud of your dog to catch something until they actually do and you don’t have the stomach for it.

    1. The dog will need a rabies shot if it eats a squirrel? I’m 5 years late to the party, but this is too precious to pass by! Squirrels almost never -ever – have rabies. Go look it up for yourself at the CDC.

      It’s totally natural for a dog to eat a small mammal. If they eat raw food regularly, their stomach pH is so acidic that measly bacteria like salmonella and e. coli (that would leave a human on a toilet for days) have virtually no chance.

  10. So your dog catches a baby squirrel… Almost kills it and you leave it there slowly dying while you go inside and eat? Hit it with a shovel and put it out of its misery you stupid fuck..

  11. Sounds like the general consensus is that you need to not be a pussy wussy and kill that thing.

    1. Hi…our dog just killed a fullgrown squirrel…did a great job..quickly…i let her gnaw on it…a bit..let her growl at me and protect it..got her favorite treat, a lot of it, was able to distract her into the house …and i disposed of a 4 pound squirrel. Thanks for reminding me of potential disease.

  12. There was a dying squirrel in your yard and you went inside like a pussy? Nice.

  13. This falls under the heading of “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it!” I had a neighbor’s cat in my backyard torturing and “playing” with a baby rabbit. I tried to chase the cat off, but it picked the rabbit up in its mouth and took off with it.

  14. It is just a rat with a fuzzy tail…. don’t sweat it. However, you should have clubbed it with shovel and thrown it in the trash.

  15. Time and time again you prove Kyle how much is a spoiled pussy bitch you are. You wanted to be a man and see what happens when nature takes its course. But the second you were faced with a tough choice, You let a baby squirrel suffer so you could eat diner in piece. If you weren’t such a little bitch and had a gun you could have taken care of it from a distance like little pussies do. Instead you couldn’t do a thing and ran away like a sissy bitch.

  16. This was actually the most entertaining non sports story ive read on here. Kyle youre a sick fuck though just staring at it. Why didnt you put it out of its misery? What the hell is the matter with you?

  17. This was the best post on this website in a while.

    Shoulda sacked up and killed it though, can’t let the thing suffer any more then it did.

  18. Dude. thats awful. Next time take a spade shovel and decapitate it quickly. dont let the little fucker suffer. Christ almighty man!

  19. i had an asshole neighbor who used to throw cigarette butts in my yard , so i decided to shoot all the squirrels in the neighborhood and throw them on his grill

  20. Between this and the Boston bomber live feed, I have been liking the non-sports posts here lately

  21. If there is “A” baby squirrel in your shed, there are also “More” in there. Squirrels do not ever have just one baby unless your dog ate the rest. Make it up to his family by leaving some food for them to knaw on and teach your dog to leave the poor animals alone by yelling at her when she attacks them. Actually baby squirrels are usually quite friendly and I’v actually picked them up like a pet before when they were abandoned which happens quite often. If you find more babies, which I think you will bring them to your local animal refuge where they will take care of them until they are grown. And next time don’t be such a puss, hit the damn thing with a shovel.

    1. In response to the above two posts:

      Maybe the 24 hours of man made daylight in city atmospheres has led one to believe that canines’ instincts do not matter. Though they are “domestic,” their ancestral traits are wild and carnivorous. Dogs are not standing on their hind legs, using their frontal lobes to comment on the “flavor” of ten year old wine with a group of nasal talking d-bags.

      Way to go Kyle!

  22. Very entertaining write-up Kyle. My dogs (lab and beagle) caught 2 squirrels in 1 day and I too was wondering about what to do with the first one which did not die right away. I pulled my dogs off of it as they both had a grab of it and was tugging it apart before i stopped them. The poor adult squirrel was squirming around while my dogs watched what the heck I was going to do with it. I felt guilty seeing the BSS suffer and for not letting my boys finish it off. Honestly, it was kinda sickening watching it. I let my dogs back in the house while I took a brick to it. I put the BSS in a plastic bag and threw in the garbage. I was concerned about diseases which i googled about and led me here. My dogs have shots so I think they are safe. Plus I bathed them right away that afternoon.

    The 2nd squirrel wasn’t as fortunate as my dogs once again had it in a tug-o-war match but this time they seemed more aggressive with their biting.

    I pulled my dogs off of it as well and this BSS had a fight though. He succomed to his wounds in 1min and I proceeded to bag and discard of it.

    First time I had ever witnessed my boys doing this and I always wanted them to crush them in their jaws cause of the damage the BSS do to my yard.

    It was pretty nasty and gross to watch this and if I had another means to rid of those BSS’s I would. Hopefully the rest of the squirrels in the vicinity heard the squealing and will avoid coming to my boy’s yard.

  23. Hi can’t believe you wanted your dog to kill somthing at all! Not cool. What you should have done is put it out of its misery. Next if couldn’t kill it take it too a refuge near by. Last if you couldn’t talk to it gently and let nature take care of it. If you wanted to keep it then wash its wound. Take it too a vet and pay for the damage.

    1. “I can’t believe you wanted your dog to act on its instinctual prey drive at all!”

      Wow, are people ever divorced from biology.

  24. You are one fucked up human being, but I’m glad it was terrible for you to watch. What type of person WANTS to have their animal kill another animal. You’re the type of person that’s so wrong with this damn world. So what that the other animal isn’t owned by you, it’s still a living, breathing creature. Would you be happy if your dog decided to break the legs and hips a random puppy that happened to run through your yard? Probably not. You teach your animal that doing that is wrong, you don’t encourage your animal to do something like that. On top of all that, you wanted your animal to kill another animal, yet you were not even man enough to do the right thing and put the poor thing out of it’s misery after your dog mutilated it. You’re fucking pathetic.

    1. There is a difference between dog and dog interaction and dog and wild animal/prey interaction. It’s instinctual, this stuff happens in the wild, yes dogs are domesticated and have lost a lot of their natural desire to hunt due to knowing that food will be given to them. But’s its still in their DNA, maybe it shouldn’t have been encouraged to the level it seems that it was.

      But you can’t punish them for something that is built into who they are as an animal, it’d like punishing you for being a closed minded judgmental asshole, it’s clearly something that is built into your DNA.

  25. Dog are dogs and will do those thing. But humans should be humane. Heaven forbid YOU came into this world as a tiny baby squirrel. Put the poor thing out of its misery.

    I had a hard time listening to how comically you told the story. I honestly believe you felt bad but it does not show in how you recall the incident. I think that is what upset so many people. Compassion for the weak is our greatest asset.

  26. Honestly, I think it’s screwed up at how many rude comments there are here. I’m sure that if they had a pet, which have instincts to kill, they would have been a deer caught in the headlights and not know what to do for a couple seconds. I know my dog caught one and I stood there astonished, after chasing him down with the BSS in his mouth I finally took him inside and told my younger sister to bag it up and throw it in the trash (squirrel was already dead, my dog probably caught it long ago and I hadn’t seen it until then). Whatever happened to the squirrel, who knows but it’s gone and now you know what can happen if your dog tries to catch another one.

  27. You save the squirrel drowning it isnt humane think about it at some point every human in life has had a encounter with almost drowning imagine doing that to the poor thing . It was just a baby who wanted to live they have 10-12 year life span this baby was determined to live a full life before judging on whats humane and stuff think about how they feel animals cannot speak bur they sure as heck feel pain and stuff like humans do they try to tell us things by facial expressions and stuff because they cannot speak all we can do is try to listen to them interpret what they want as best as we can

  28. What I don’t understand is this part ‘yes get it, yesyesyes’ and as soon as you realized it’s a baby squirrel, you were all like ‘noooo’?
    Is it that if catching a bird, the dog would be praised?

  29. Seriously what is wrong with you (not your dog). Why didn’t you just let the poor baby squirrel out of its misery by breaking its neck or using a shovel to finish the job vs letting it suffer then become a meal for an owl/crawl to a hiding space to slowly suffer until it died while you ate your dinner. Have some compassion you sicko.

  30. You are seriously a sick dude. First of all, you are proud of your dog killing, until you see it’s a baby? What the actual fuck. I know this post is from 2013, but you’re a sick fucking guy. Go have a nice family dinner, while something slowly waits to die in your yard. How about you GROW A PAIR and put the poor thing out of its misery, and then work with your dog on decreasing its instinct to want to kill in the first place. I can’t get over how fucking psycho you sound in this whole post.

  31. This happened in our yard yesterday. I checked on the squirrel after my dog was locked inside and it was alive but barely, lying on its side and breathing slowly, poor baby. I had a shovel with me and was fully intending to hit it in the head and let it out of its misery but it didn’t seem to be in agony, seemed to be just slowly dying, eyes were closing. I went in and got a plastic bag, put the baby squirrel in the bag, apologized to it and to its mama, and tied the bag tightly shut. I figure that way it will just go to sleep and die peacefully, and more quickly.

  32. Hmmm. Seems the dog needs more practice doing doggy things like hunting. It is instinctual for dogs and cats to hunt. Our dogs hunted together; chasing rabbits toward each other. The female would nab them and break their necks with one good shake. She never ate them, but the male would if we didn’t get to them first. Once nature starts to take its course, butt out and let the circle of life be complete. Don’t pull the dog off and let the animal suffer. Let it finish what it started.

  33. On Friday around 1p.m. my dog grabbed an adolescent squirrel in the yard and shook him 4 or 5 times before I could get the dog to drop him. What I did was bring the dog to a friend’s house and thinking I would come home and look through the wood pile and find a dead squirrel. When I got home and started moving the wood I found the squirrel scurried under each board so I could only see him but not catch him. This went on for about an hour, after which he was still alive, probably hurt, but definitely scared and traumatized . I was thinking “i need to get him out of the yard before my dog gets home or he has NO chance of surviving this”, and he sure seemed like he wanted to survive ! I then spent several hours on the phone looking for a wildlife rescue to come help me catch him and maybe get him to a rehab. Finally got 2 people by 4:15 (called 13 or 14 ) who said they would help. y 5:30 the squirrel was caught, put into a carrier and I was about to get my dog, I had promised the rescuer that I would drive the squirrel out to the nearest 24 hour animal hospital (an hour away). Luckily for me the other rescuer called and said he would pick up the squirrel and bring him to one of his rehabs. It took from about 1 pm till about 6;30 to clear up this situation in a way I could live with….what would you do ???? and no, I do not encourage my dog to catch or kill anything.

  34. If your dog catches a squirrel, just try to do something, anything not just sit there and HAVE DINNER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  35. I don’t know how I found your story and I don’t care how old it its, I gotta tell you you’re a pussy. A worthless coward, no-balls pussy. Your entire story is you posturing, trying to act macho. But when it counts you ran away like a little girl. Pussy.

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