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When I lived in a hip Chicago neighborhood one of my delights in this quintessentially urban lifestyle was observing the squirrels who made their living in the trees grown up between the brownstone walkups. I would delight in their scamperings whenever I went outside. I’d sometimes sit in the front window and watch them deftly negotiate the many challenges of being a wild animal in the city with what, to my eyes, looked like a lot of good sense and great cheer.

I would place unsalted peanuts out where I could watch the little blighters come and snatch them away. One neighbor had taken his peanut doling to a higher level and could pass them right into their grabby paws. I admired that greatly.

The author's husband observing his grandfather and squirrel pal.

My husband’s grandfather also had a way with these ebullient critters and in the backyard of a small town Ohio house hand fed the brave to the great delight of all. He wouldn’t let them smoke though that was a treat shared only with his pug dog but that’s another story.


Spend some time with animals at liberty (free, unimpeded with leashes, shanks or other attachments to your person) whether in your suburban backyard, your inner city dog park or your country pasture.

Hang out with whomever shows up and however they do so. Soak up what they offer. If you like take a gander at the video below shot from the viewer’s point of view and join the animals of DogTrot Hill on a warm late winter day.



  • Do animals that are not physically attached to you (leashes, etc) behave any differently when they are free to move about?
  • How does it feel when they choose to approach you?
  • In the video did you notice any instance of what might be called play behavior? Who did it, what did they do and what do you think of that?
  • What do you think might have changed in these scenes if wild rabbits had hopped through?

Creative Consideration

  1. Using colorful ribbons, string, and yarn braid together a four to six foot length.
  2. With sturdy paper or cardbaord and drawing or painting supplies create a batch of images, words, quotes or photos that represent your own dreams, hopes and wishes.
  3. With a hole punch and more string or wire attach these to the end of your dream leash.
  4. Hang prominently to remind you what you wish to be attached to.
  5. Be careful what you wish for. 🙂