I came home this afternoon to a dead squirrel in my driveway – an odd occurrence in our neighborhood, and odder still in that he had not been run over. My investigation has also ruled out suicide, as it could not have leaped off the neighbor’s roof to where it landed.

Now typically that’s where I leave off and my wife picks things up. I have not ever done well with dead animals; the last time there was a rodent fatality on our property I literally ran screaming out of the room to find her. I once worked at a library with goldfish, and – wait, that didn’t come out right. The goldfish weren’t my coworkers, they were in a tank in our room. Nonetheless, one of them eventually passed on because he’d essentially turned into a bloated, distended Orson Welles of fish. I tried desperately to weasel out of dealing with his remains but ended up having to flush him. I think it took a couple of tries, too.

And I wasn’t even the most skittish one there. The custodian, who I felt was much better equipped to handle these things, categorically refused to deal with the fish or any other non-human lifeform. We had a mouse problem in the building at one point, and while he put out traps for them, he couldn’t bear to check them. One time a mouse bounded out from behind a cabinet, and he yelped a little yelp and jumped onto a chair. Remember the scene in “Dumbo” where Timothy the mouse defends Dumbo from all the mean elephants by making faces at them, and they freak out and jump on anything nearby to keep away from him because he’s a mouse? That’s what this guy did. And that freaked the mouse out, so he started running for cover, and that freaked out the guy more. They may still be at it today, nine years later.

But this time I felt like I couldn’t just leave the poor squirrel out there in the driveway. After all, if it were me lying there, I’d hope whoever found me would show a little sympathy, or at least not run screaming from the scene. So I decided to be brave and dug a nice little spot under the pine trees, said a few words and buried him. Witnesses may point out that I carried my six-foot shovel out at length in front of me as I brought the squirrel’s body over for burial; this was clearly not an elaborate, New Orleans-style funeral with brass bands and cathartic dancing, but I did give the squirrel a compassionate sendoff without completely flipping out. Baby steps are still steps.

Anyway, I present this video in honor of the squirrel. This is the kind of funeral anyone would be proud to have, as long as they didn’t mind that it was held in a bathroom and the participants repeatedly forgot the name of the deceased.

Neatorama and family invite you to a meal in honor of the squirrel