We, as emotional beings, place a priceless value on happiness and joy. If you think about it, happiness is much more than just a feeling to us, it's something we require.

Have you ever tried to define happiness? It's hard enough to express in people, let alone in animals. Yet without being affected by what the world thinks, we have a little squirrel that goes about mostly leaping, rather than darting, with great speed.

In our section, we've grown fond of a neighborhood gray squirrel who is a card-carrying hoarder, and hops like Peter Cottontail, who we call "No Tail." As you've probably surmised, it doesn't have a tail whatsoever. Not even a leftover stump. Our four-year-old great grandson Owen and his mom, Aleksis, were the first to discover it. Since then, folks up and down the street have become infatuated with the little critter.

"Just the other day, Kathy, the mail lady, and I were outside talking, and all of a sudden we see him. He came right up my walk and stopped a few feet away and looked at us as if to say, 'Do you have any food for me?'" commented our neighbor Pat Hickman, who along with her husband, Bob, describe him as "the cutest damn thing I ever seen." Bob, on the hand, chuckles, because he believes the squirrel might be a hybrid blend of part squirrel and part bunny.

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My wife Celeste said if No Tail sees you going into the house, "he'll wait by the back door poised and in position for you to throw a handful of unsalted peanuts in their natural shells."

"After being away for a week, I pulled in and there was No Tail waiting for me in the car port," she said. "He was so adorable."

Phil Paleologos/Townsquare Media

 

As if it was the pick of the litter, our son Alex said, "Owen was the first one to introduce me to No Tail. I fell in love with him. Now, he's become an official member of the Paleologos family."

Alex also told me something I didn't know. "He has a mate that he chums along with and they take care of each other," he said. Something he said struck a chord: they looked after each other.

Phil Paleologos/Townsquare Media

You've heard the expression that sharing is caring. Along those lines, scientists say that it's common for animals to support the other members of their species. The same holds true for people.

I look at it this way – at least he doesn't gallop.

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