Dead Squirrels Have No Place in Parenting (VIDEO)


Dead Squirrel Girl I try hard not to judge other people's parenting choices. It's difficult, and I love to debate and ponder those I don't understand with the best of them, but when it comes down to it, I believe most parents know what's best for their children. MOST, but not all. And I can't in any way stop from judging a couple who let their daughter play with a dead squirrel and filmed it with delight.

The fact that they put the video on YouTube, which has since gone viral, makes the whole thing even worse. As a point of full disclosure, I hate squirrels whether they're dead or alive, so I may be a bit biased. However, I see no good in letting your toddler daughter carry around a dead animal of any kind. None.

Check out the video after the jump:

The girl is adorable, but the whole thing is disturbing. According to The Daily Dot, the family's dog killed the squirrel, and while her parents went inside to get a shovel (and a camera?) for the rodent's burial, their daughter, Thea, picked it up and loved it immediately.

While the video was taken several years ago, it was posted on YouTube in February and just recently went viral. Jenny Malik, Thea's mother, said they released it because they "knew it was something different, and I really hoped it would touch people.”

Touch isn't exactly the word I would use to describe it. Also -- why the hell did they call the dog out to check out his handiwork? That was a disaster waiting to happen that fortunately didn't.

My overall reaction to the video is not even just disgust, as I would hope a good bath probably would take care of any germs she encountered. I think it's the idea of letting a child get that close to death that is the most disturbing. Thea's father, Sean Leonard, described why he thinks the video is important to The Daily Dot:

I think it addresses some of the fundamentals of life. It addresses death, but it’s also tempered by the innocence of a child. It’s this juxtaposition of the morbidity of death intermingled with the animation and joy of life, her sheer joy at being able to touch a squirrel. That’s what she was experiencing in that moment: how soft it was, [that] it was yielding to her will, she could pick it up, it wasn’t running away. She just didn’t understand what death was.

Uh, okay ...

As far as I'm concerned, death and children shouldn't even be uttered in the same sentence, though unfortunately, all too often they are. Still, as a parent, I choose to keep some of the scary and inexplicable realities of things like death (and squirrels) from mine; I wish I always could. But even if you choose to teach your child about the loss of life early, they don't need a body in hand to start understanding, and they don't need to be used to teach the world a lesson.

Overall, I've got to say the video feels like a cheap ploy for some publicity. If you chose to parent with dead squirrels, that's one thing, but to post the video for the world to see serves no purpose other than your own.

What do you think of these parents letting their daughter play with a dead squirrel?

Image via YouTube

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momav... momavanessa

throwing up GROSS!!! What the heck is wrong with these people!!

Lesli... Lesliemom2mzjm

while I think its disgusting that they let her play with it (reminds me of the video where the parents are cracking up because their baby is poking at a dogs but-thole), I disagree with the whole thing of children and death.  Unfortunately death is a reality, whether it's a pet or a loved one.  We've always taken our children (all 4 are very well behaved) to the funerals of family members, and they very matter-of-factly, ask great questions that we try to answer honestly.  They still talk about those family members to this day and have good memories of them, or at least know the repeated stories about them.  It wasn't scary for them.  We've had a few pets die and they were the same way.  The only time I got upset was when I found a very bloody dead baby squirrel on the street by my driveway.  It had fallen out of a tree and was a mess.  They wanted to see it and didn't obey when I told them to not come over.  I just wanted my husband to come see it so he could go in and change then come remove it. 

brook... brookemhowell

as a kid i would mess with my grandpa's hunting trophies all the time. it wasnt like the thimg was half decayed or anything. she'll be fine.

Caroline Pollock

@brookemhowell, playing w/ hunting trophies is different from a freshly killed squirell.  I'm not so sure those parents are doing their kid any big favors. 

Shanin22 Shanin22

That was a little disturbing and yet weirdly funny. At first I sided very much in the "what the hell were these parents thinking" camp... but after reading the fathers statement, I kind of get it. Death is just a part of life to be explored and understood by children who will one day have to face the reality of it. I've tried to be as open and honest about death as possible to one day help my children deal with that inevitability. I don't see any point in lying to them or scaring them more than death already instinctually scares us. I have no plans of letting them play with dead animals anytime soon but I can't really fault this families reaction to this unusual situation. If anything I'm impressed that they were able to stay so calm and handle in the manner that they did. 

ms_ja... ms_jasmine

Kids hunt all the time here(in texas).I hate it but it happens.I love squirrells.I wldve beat the ess out of my dog.first its squirrells then its cats then its no no.poor lil guy :'(

nonmember avatar memyself

You should never touch rodents. You can get plague from them.

Rose Savoie

I'm mostly concerned with the fact that they let their daughter play with a dead squirrel.  They can harbor all kinds of diseases.  I have always taught my daughter to NEVER NEVER touch a wild animal, ESPECIALLY not a dead one, because it's not just a gross ick factor, it could literally harm the child to pick up a dead animal like that.  And while the parents did redeem themselves a bit by saying at the end "now make sure to have a bath and we're not going to touch the squirrel ever again."  I really don't think it was a wise choice to let her play with it in the first place.  What if the next animals she decided play with has rabies or something?  You know that after you let a kid do something once and smile and think it's oh so cute, they'll keep doing, even if you tell them over and over again not to.

nonmember avatar molly

Weird, my cat and dog killed a squirrel just this afternoon. I distracted my toddler while the animals ended the squirrel's suffering by taking her inside. Our other dog handed the dead squirrel to my husband when he was out there in the dark. He thought she was handing him a toy. Wrong! And gross! ... Anyway, touching a dead squirrel = no. But sheltering a child from death? Eh... That doesn't sit right with me. Tell this children the truth, ya know? My little brother had cancer on and off for 11 years so we spent a LOT of time in childrens hospitals. We lived in the Target House even. We made friends with other families with sick kids. And it was common for our friends to die over the weekend. Kids we'd been playing with just days before would fade away and die. And when I was 13 my brother did just that. And every year in school a classmate would die. You can't hide from it. People die every day.

Nraw2011 Nraw2011

Oh lord, the kid will be fine.  She'll probably grow up being more well adjusted than kids who are coddled to death by their parents (Trust me I know).  I heard about this a while ago.  People made it sound like the thing was all rotted and decayed.  My dad died when I was young so death is something I learned about early.  If I had a choice I would have rather learned about with a dead squirrel.  Maybe you should all save your judgements.

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