Some People Have Nothing Better to Do Than Complain!
So last Thursday something told me to log onto my facebook account. It had been a particularly long time since I had done so... so I figured I might as well just log into my account and see what's going on. I immediately saw a post from my apartment building's tenant association group! It had just been posted 17 hours earlier. One of my neighbors was complaining about the person (or people) who have been leaving nuts and fruit out for the community squirrels! This neighbor was basically complaining about ME! And the complaint was followed by a few comments that were all in agreeance with the original complaint. The post stated the following:
"Hi ****** family! I wanted to post an important PSA. I know we are a very animal-friendly community and that is one of the things I love about living here! However, part of maintaining a healthy biodiversity in this community includes protecting our friendly neighborhood dogs and cats who roam around the community. I have noticed that several people have been leaving out various nuts, berries, and other fruits, presumably for the squirrels.
I would like to respectfully request that our community stop leaving out food for the squirrels, as several of these foods can be toxic, very unhealthy, or pose a choking hazard to dogs and cats. As an example, cherries, grapes/raisins, and orange peels can be toxic to dogs and cats. Nuts have very high fat content for dogs and cats and can pose choking hazards for dogs, cats, and small children.
Note: There may be specific circumstances in which we may need to leave out certain safe foods like dog or cat food so that we can find a lost pet or take in a stray cat to protect our community (including the squirrel community), as we recently did. However, these are very specific circumstances that we can agree on as a community and they are short-term measures that are not meant to be done long-term.
While we love our squirrels, please remember that they are wild animals and should be left to live in their natural environment. Believe me, they are VERY well-nourished squirrels even without extra food being left out! If you would like to individually feed a squirrel and you can verify that they actually eat it or take it right there, that is safe. But, for the safety of all community members (especially our dogs, cats, and small children), please do not leave out food for the squirrels. Thank you!"
Then there were the comments:
"Well put, Joshua! We’ve been discussing this a lot lately and couldn’t have said it more eloquently. thank you for looking out for the animals No one should ever feed wild animals. Squirrels, rats, coyotes, deer. You are not doing them any favors and if anything you are putting them in danger. Also I don’t want squirrels continuously killing my plants."
So first I had to stop feeding the squirrels on my balcony for fear that the neighbor living under me would murder them... Now, I have a group of neighbors complaining about me feeding the squirrels outside of my apartment! Why does there always have to be a some kind of problem? I didn't respond to the post because I learned a long time ago that it is a pointless waste of time to debate with facebookers... especially know it all complaining, having nothing better to do than talk sh*t on facebook facebookers! So instead this article will serve as my unofficial anonymous response!
First of all, my neighbor states that a dog or cat could choke on the nuts or the fruits could be toxic to dogs. So let's start there... The manager and all of the employees who work at the leasing office at my building know me. They know that I feed the squirrels and they know that I leave food out for the squirrels as well. In fact, one of my neighbors who works in the leasing office (who had a dog at one point) also feeds the squirrels. Now, I have never received a formal complaint from the manager of the building or anyone in the leasing office regarding me leaving food out for the squirrels. Now don't you think if a dog or a cat at my apartment complex actually choked on a nut or got sick from a fruit that I left out that the manager or staff at the leasing office would've contacted me by now? And I've been leaving nuts and fruit out for months with no reported incidence!
Yes, there was one time that I left out grapes and a woman warned me that grapes were toxic to dogs. So I stopped leaving out grapes and that was the end of it! But besides that...the only nuts and fruit I leave out for the squirrels are almonds and sometimes pecans and walnuts. The only fruit I leave out is dates, strawberries and blueberries. I have never left out raisins, cherries or orange peels. I think I left out oranges one time, but not orange peels. I've left out apples. And once or twice I left some goji berries out. I am also very careful where I place the nuts and fruit. I try not to just throw them everywhere. I don't throw them in the grass. I have specific spots on concrete where I put them. Anyone taking a dog for a walk would immediately notice that nuts and fruit are on that piece of concrete. As for cats... I have 3 cats and I know that they would never be interested in trying to eat a fruit or a nut! Never! As for small children trying to eat the fruit or nuts I think that's a no-brainer... keep an eye on your kids! Duh! And for that matter... keep an eye on your dogs!
Now, I looked up the nuts and fruit that I leave out for the squirrels and this is what I found...
"There are some nuts dogs can eat, though you should only treat your pup to them on special occasions. Too many nuts (and too much peanut butter, which is a common treat for dogs during training and play time) can lead to obesity and dehydration.
Can dogs eat nuts?
All nuts are risky for dogs to eat. This is because of their aforementioned fat content and because they are super easy for dogs to choke on. There are a few types of nuts that only present a mild risk to canines and can be eaten sporadically. Some nuts are very toxic to dogs and can cause lasting problems for your pup’s insides if he eats them.
Eating the wrong type of nut could result in pancreatitis in dogs. In fact, a fatty diet in general is linked to pancreatitis—the inflammation of the pancreas—in dogs. Signs of pancreatitis include many of the signs of poison: vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, loss of appetite. Your dog also might have a distended belly or hunch his back as he walks. Any nut given to your dog should be unseasoned and salt free!
The jury seems to be out on almonds. PetMD says they’re not technically toxic, so it’s OK to eat once in a while. But, The American Kennel Club says almonds should never become a dog treat. We think it’s best to avoid them. If your dog grabs an almond off the floor, it’s not the end of the world, but watch him carefully to make sure he doesn’t choke. Dogs can eat pecans once in a blue moon. These nuts aren’t toxic, and your dog will be fine. But they have a very high fat content, so go easy. The large and irregular shape of a walnut is dangerous for dogs. These nuts are major choking hazards and digestive blocks."
I also looked up strawberries, blueberries and dates and they are all safe for dogs... well, the pit in the date is probably not safe... But once again, just keep an eye on your dog! I am not just randomly throwing fruit and nuts everywhere. I have very specific places where I place the food.
Okay, so now for the other issue mentioned in the facebook post... My complaining neighbor believes that wild animals shouldn't be fed by humans. First of all, the squirrels living at my building are like cats. They are no longer wild. They are slightly domesticated. These squirrels have been getting fed by us for many years! However, I'm pretty sure that if we stopped feeding them they would have no problem finding their own food. There is plenty available! Also, these squirrels slightly remind me of the wild monkeys in India. There's a city in India where monkeys run freely around humans. They often misbehave and terrorize people trying to get food from them. Then, within the city, there is a peaceful gated sanctuary that houses the same breed of monkeys that run amok in the streets. However, the sanctuary monkeys are fed daily by the humans at the sanctuary that provide for them. They are treated like royalty... like Gods! These monkeys are peaceful and behave kindly. I'd like to think of my apartment complex as a sanctuary and the squirrels are like the monkeys at the sanctuary in India. If the sanctuary in India can feed a small select group of wild monkeys then why can't we feed a small select group of squirrels? We are a squirrel (animal) friendly community! These squirrels are in no danger! They can safely approach humans! And they are not going to forget how to forage for food! Okay?
I think the squirrels are way better off than people! I ask you this... Have humans not been spoiled by the grocery stores? We don't have to farm or hunt for our own food. Most people don't even have the skills to hunt or farm! I know I don't! If all the grocery stores shut down we would be in a load of trouble! However, the squirrels, they intuitively know how to find food! Humans... goodluck!
I also believe that feeding the squirrels is good karma! Let's just say that all the grocery stores close down one day and there's no food to be found anywhere! I would hope that some kind being would just start leaving out food for me... If I can do it for the squirrels... then karmically speaking, I've earned that blessing! So I'm covering all of my bases!
Now you know what I think the real problem is? These obnoxious, know it all, better than everyone else neighbors are bored and they need something to complain about! If they have all this time on their hands to complain about feeding squirrels than they definitely need to find a hobby! Perhaps they can start by going around the apartment complex and picking up all the fruits and nuts that I leave out for the squirrels? lol So you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to do them a favor! I'm going to continue feeding the squirrels... so my bored neighbors can continue wasting their precious time focusing on nonsense and complaining on facebook while I manifest greatness (and accumulate my karma points)! Idiots!
Jennie H is a Reiki Master Energy Healer, Co-Founder of Self Saviorz Society California Non-Profit 501(c)(3), Poet, Author and Entertainer with goals to help raise the vibration and consciousness of humanity!