Mocha’s legacy as ‘the flying Schnauzer’

Our yard backs up to a small woods. Lots of furry animals live in those woods.

Squirrels, chipmunks, and raccoons are common guests. They climb between the fence posts to the grass underneath my husband’s bird feeders.

Ed has four different feeders where wrens, cardinals, and woodpeckers dine daily.

We like to sit on our deck and watch this menagerie.

So does Teddy.

We watch for the entertainment value. Teddy watches for the sport.

I’m not a “sporting” person, but it’s inbred in Teddy. I don’t like it and I don’t want him getting hurt.

The black lab can fly off our deck and be at the corner end of yard, about 80 feet away, in seconds.

We also have an opossum living under the same wooden deck.

Two years ago, when Teddy first joined our family, he had a run-in with an opossum.

The pooch won. We’re not sure what happened. Teddy looked fine. The opossum did too.

No bite marks. No blood. No scratch marks.

I prefer to think that the opossum died from fright.

So what to do with the new opossum?

I don’t want Teddy hurt. I don’t want the opossum hurt either.

We could humanly relocate the opossum, but it won’t stop other animals from entering our yard.

The backyard has a multitude of trees for squirrels to climb to avoid the pooch, so I’m not as concern for the nut eaters.

Now before I let Teddy out I look for the opossum. Any raccoons, skunks, or other furry animals, too.

And yes, this makes me a worrier. It’s in my genes. My mom and sister both worry.

Ed, and my daughter, Jordan, say I’m a gigantic worrier.

When it comes to my family, both human and furry, I wear that descriptor proudly.

Years ago, Ed and I were visiting my mentor and his wife, Ray and Tish Wagner.

They had a beautiful three-story log home in Athens, Ohio, and our first dog, a Miniature Schnauzer, Mocha was with us.

All of us, including Ray and Tish’s daughter, Christina were relaxing on their second-story deck.

It was fall and the view from the deck was beautiful.

Mocha pranced back and forth on the deck. She moved closely to the edge and peered down watching the squirrels scurry around.

My worry gene kicked in.

“Mocha is going jump.” I said.

“No, she’s not.” Ed said.

“Mocha’s going to jump.” I said again.

Ray laughed, patting Mocha on the head. “I don’t think so.”

This conversation went on for several minutes.

The salt-and-pepper Schnauzer didn’t wait for the conversation to end.

Mocha glided off the deck doing her best flying squirrel imitation.

All of us sat stunned. I didn’t want to look down.

Fortunately, the fallen leaves that blanketed the ground below cushioned her landing. Other than muddy paws, Mocha was fine.

I was shaking.

Mocha shook it off as if nothing happened. The pooch was even annoyed at having her paws cleaned off.

So do I feel justified worrying about Teddy and the opossum or any other furry creatures in our yard meeting each other?

Big time.

Karin Spicer, a magazine writer, has been entertaining families for more than 20 years. She lives in Bellbrook with her family and two furry animals all who provide inspiration for her work. She can be reached at

Fun facts about flying squirrels

  • They glide not fly.
  • They can store up to 15,000 nuts in one season.
  • They are friendly with each other.
  • They frequently feed and den together.


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