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Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Friday, May 08, 2015

scuggy was a happy squirrel

illustration by carl offerdinger (PD)

From an 1842 collection of essays on animals, here's a charming story of a picky pet squirrel:
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Squirrels are easily tamed by kind treatment. I had one given me, which I kept for a long time in a very large parrot's cage, which, by the bye, was a much more comfortable and airy house for him than what is generally sold for squirrels.  

My Scuggy was very tame, and so fond of me, that a very laughable scene took place on one occasion in consequence. I kept him in my own room, and had always cleaned out his cage myself, giving him fresh sand and wool every morning. At length I got tired of doing all this, and deputed it to the housemaid. Now Mr. Scugg was a particularly good-natured little fellow, and always made a point of sitting up on his hind legs, holding a nut between his two front paws to crack, whilst I was cleaning his cage; however, as soon as the housemaid took it in hand, no powers could coax him out of his wool, and he flew at her immediately, if she attempted to rouse him. I thought he must be ill, as he would not make his appearance when I called him, and was never to be seen otherwise than curled up in his wool, and ate and drank scarcely anything. 

This went on for a whole fortnight, the squirrel growing more snappish and ill-natured every day; but as I did not fancy his cage was so thoroughly clean and fresh as when I attended to him, I one morning determined to recommence my labours. I had no sooner pulled out the drawer to put in fresh sand, than out bounced Scuggy from his wool, seating himself up to eat his nut as formerly, now and then throwing it down, and scampering about his cage in a perfect ecstacy, putting his paws out of the wires to take hold of my hand, and then sitting up again to let me rub his head. All that day he continued in the same high spirits, and as I henceforth invariably attended upon him, he was himself ever afterwards; but my having so unceremoniously turned him over to the housemaid had so seriously affronted him, that I think it would have ended by breaking my little pet’s heart. His cage was always placed on a small Indian cabinet, just in my sight as I lay in bed; and every morning regularly was he to be seen poking his little sharp nose through the wires to watch me; and as soon as I opened my eyes, that moment he uttered a shrill squeak of delight.
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From "Author of Poetic sketches". (15). Original anecdotes of British quadrupeds. 130 p.: ill., pp. 117-119.

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