When Judie Jacobs noticed her golden retriever, Murphy, hanging out by the back slider door more than usual, she started paying closer attention.
It turns out that Murphy was waiting patiently every day for the same red squirrel to come for a visit. Though she was cautious at first, Chippy, as Jacobs dubbed her, began bonding with Murphy more and more.
“Over time, the trust was built,” Jacobs explained. “Chippy would actually come to the door and call for Murphy to come out. We thought it was really sweet, so we started to foster their friendship.”
Jacobs said that she and Murphy began leaving the squirrel nuts, and Murphy understood exactly what Jacobs meant when she asked him, “Do you want to feed Chippy?”
“He walks right into the pantry and he sits and he waits, and we walk out,” Jacobs said. “It became a really adorable routine for all of us.” Murphy even began bringing Chippy his favorite ball and other prized possessions.
“He’s just a very tender, sweet, loving dog who happened to fall in love with this red squirrel who’s living in our yard,” Jacobs said.
At one point in their friendship, Chippy stopped visiting Murphy as often as she used to and, according to Jacobs, Murphy was feeling a bit “melancholy” about this. But one day, she came back — and she had someone with her.
“We realized Chippy had gone away because she was pregnant and she had babies,” Jacobs said. “She was busy being a mom.” And she couldn’t wait to show her babies off to Murphy.
One of Chippy’s babies who lost his tail, and whom Jacobs later named Peanut, was especially drawn to Murphy. “I could see that Peanut and Murphy had developed this magical friendship — the same way he had developed it with Chippy,” Jacobs said.
In catching up with Murphy, Chippy and Peanut, Jacobs said that Chippy and Murphy are still the best of friends.
“Chippy and Murphy still hang out,” she said. “We see Chippy almost daily and some of her other squirrel babies.”
“Peanut seems to be on the other side of the yard, and we wonder if she is off having babies,” Jacobs added. “We discovered that she is a girl.”
Once spring hits and new squirrel babies are born, Jacobs expects they’ll get a better idea of what Peanut has been up to this winter.
And even more squirrel pals have joined Chippy and Murphy’s animal friend group.
“We now have a black squirrel that we named Eddie and a gray squirrel that we named Buff,” Judie said. “[We think] Eddie is living in the house that my dad built for the squirrels.”
And even with the newcomers, Murphy is still as gentle as ever. “The biggest thing Murphy has taken away from all of this is that he loves wildlife and likes to sit and admire them,” Jacobs said. “He does not bark, he does not chase, and he seems to have a gentle nature which we encourage when we see wildlife in our backyard such as deer, too!”