Chipmunks are the garbage fish of suburban backyards. They are the bottom-feeding carp to, say, the smallmouth bass that is the inventive squirrel or the rainbow trout whose role is filled by the Northern Cardinal. A fallen Blue Jay may merit a sigh as we carry his defunct body tenderly to the garbage can. But nobody mourns a fallen chipmunk.
This common rodent expires unmourned while creating only slightly greater cosmic ripples than a squashed mosquito.
Until today. On this cool, blue-skied Spring afternoon in Indianapolis, crippled Sammy chased chipmunks as they darted among the logs of our wood-pile. Actually, he didn’t so much chase them in space and time as he intended to chase them with all his canine soul.
Rosie, his older Rhodesian Ridgeback sister, started the ball rolling, bending her muscular agility to the never-successful task of tracking the little rodents with her customary acrobatics. Sammy, barely up from the edges of the grave that threatened to devour him just days ago, lurched over on his three functioning legs to the scene of the unfolding drama.
Blindness and a 75%-rate of working limbs was not to deter this stalwart lad from making his futile stab at rodent mayhem. In some rough-and-ready choreography with Ridgeback sister Rosie, the Samsters stumbled this way and that, hinting at aggressive exertions in the direction of chipmunk prey even if his mind was much more the actor than his now-crippled body.
This boy has spirit. Custodians of the ground squirrel population of the American Midwest need not fret. Sammy will not soon be despoiling chipmunk families.
But, boy, would he like to! And that, for today, is enough.