It all began a dark and stormy Saturday in October 2002, just a week after my husband and I moved into our “new” 1949 house in Lockhart, Texas. It was an old house that needed some freshening up, so I had spent the day painting a bedroom. I rewarded myself by sliding into a nice, hot shower.
My peaceful shower was rudely interrupted, however, by a loud gurgle coming from the direction of the toilet. Seeing as the toilet (and the plumbing) was no doubt the same age as the house, I thought to myself, “Crap. I hope the toilet isn’t going to overflow.” And I went back to enjoying my shower, thinking that I would check on it when I got out.
This is where I have to tell you that my husband is slightly compulsive about certain things. Because of this, our toilet lids (not just the seats, but the lids too) are down at all times that the toilets are not actually in use. And by the time I emerged from the shower, I had forgotten all about the mysterious gurgle. So I retired to my room rather than check on the toilet.
A little while later, my husband came home from a college football game, drenched from the rain and needing to pee in a bad way. He walked over to use the toilet, flipped open the lid, and saw something large, brown Ã¢Â?Â¦ and furry Ã¢Â?Â¦ in there. He thought to himself, “What did she throw in here?” Then suddenly he realized what it was, slammed the lid closed and screamed!
I, thinking it was just a cockroach (he hates them with a passion) didn’t blink an eye. “What is it?” I asked, slightly annoyed.
“Come look in the toilet,” he answered.
So I got up, even more irritated that I had to leave the comfort of my bed after a long day of hard work, and went into the bathroom to take a look. I lifted the lid and what did I see? Well, at first it was just this wet and hairy brown mass, but then it dawned on me that what we had here was a very wet, but alive and breathing (heavily, I might add) squirrel! He had pulled himself to the front of the bowl where he was mostly out of the water.
After spending a few minutes realizing that the gurgle I had heard earlier must have signaled his arrival into my toilet, we still couldn’t figure out how the heck this animal tunneled into our bathroom. So we began to talk strategy for getting him out.
Just who do you call to get a live squirrel that possibly has rabies out of your toilet? I didn’t know, and I didn’t count on there being a telephone listing for “Squirrel Busters,” so I tried to find the number for animal control in Lockhart’s quarter-inch-thick excuse for a phone book. I could only find a utilities emergency number, so I gave it a shot. The police department answered and asked, “How can I help you, ma’am?”
I told the dispatcher, somewhat embarrassedly, that I had a squirrel in my toilet and that it seemed to be alive. “I’ll see what I can do,” she said, almost laughing.
About 15 minutes later, a policeman arrived carrying a long stick with pinchers on the end. “This is going in my diary,” he said before he even got through the door.
He went into the bathroom and after a few minutes, he wrangled the squirrel out of the toilet and into a laundry basket with the pincher tool. He quickly carried the screaming and writhing squirrel outside to set it free.
We breathed a sigh of relief that our squirrel-in-the-toilet ordeal was over (well, all except for cleaning the hair and squirrel turds out of the toilet). This is the point at which I realized the whole thing was hysterically funny, so I called my dad to share. He, being quite the handy man, explained that the squirrel must have crawled down a plumbing vent pipe on the roof seeking shelter from the rain. He told me to put a cover on the pipe. OK, so it was over. We knew what to do to prevent future squirrel swirlies, but we didn’t get the chance.
One week later, another very rainy week that offered no opportunity to crawl up on the roof and cover the pipe, it was another dark and stormy Saturday afternoon. I had spent the morning installing a new toilet seat and painting and cleaning the bathroom before heading out to run some errands for a few hours.
On my return, I went to the bathroom, raised the lid, and lo and behold there was another stupid squirrel! I’d like to tell you that this story has a nice little happy ending for the squirrel like the last one, but no such luck.
This little nut-eater didn’t fare as well as his friend.You see, before I left, I poured almost half a bottle of bleach into the bowl to try to get rid of a little ring that had developed there over the years.
The squirrel, nearly hairless and very dead, floated in my bowl. Gross and sad it was, but I’ll tell you, I was relieved to be able to take care of the situation myself rather than becoming another entry in a small-town policeman’s diary.