Minsk - a taxi with a… squirrel! (photo)
Pyotr Pankratau fostered a squirrel before he started driving a taxi. The youngster served in the army, and other soldiers brought this unusual pet to him. Pyotr could not abandon a sick baby-squirrel.
"On August 5, it will be 2 years since they brought him to me. He was lying unconscious under the tree. They found him in the morning and brought to me in the evening. There were worms in his mouth and right eye, I took them out. However, two weeks later everything got back to normal. I fed him with baby food and milk through a syringe... Then his teeth came out and he started eating himself. Half a year later I vaccinated and registered him. At present, he is registered in Maryina Horka under my surname".
The youngster says that despite the myth that a squirrel cannot be a pet, Masik became tame very soon.
"This is because I took him with me everywhere. In the army, everywhere. So he got used to this. Masik has a standard route at home, too - eating, then sleeping, from the kitchen to either under the blanket or to the wardrobe, - Pyotr Pankratau says. - He likes to sleep with me, close to my neck. He is very independent. There are no better animals".
The youngster is not worried that the squirrel might want to be at freedom:
"He ran away once, but I came up to the tree and he returned. Recently, I put him on a tree, and he was totally frightened and trembled all over".
"I love animals very much", - Pyotr adds. However, this is obvious without him telling so. The guy also has a cat (he used to have two cats but had to move one of them to the country-house as it kept on hunting Masik and did not yield to training), and an aquarium for 300 liters.
Pyotr confesses that not every passenger knows that he is going in a car with a squirrel.
"I don't show him to everyone. I mean, what's the point? Why disturbing him all the time? I show him to kids. However, I watch him constantly".
As for some hygienic moments of many-hours squirrel trips in a car, Pyotr never worries about them:
"If he pees - here is a duster. He can do this of course, he is a kid!"
On the whole, Pyotr says that the only problem of keeping a squirrel in a car is ... the Spring sheding:
"The old hair will fall off soon - and there will be no problems anymore. But now, see - he is half-red!"
It is weird but the company for which Pyotr works has never thought that it could receive extra advertising because of the unusual taxi-driver. However, the Belarusian movie-makers know whom to address to when they need an acting squirrel. The only thing is that their plots are all alike:
"A youngster was visited by devils at first because he drank too much, and then by a "squirrel"*, - Pyotr says.
* a "squirrel" is an unofficial name for the alcoholic mania.
Social networks also cause problems:
"I once published some photos in the "Odnoklassniki" network, and there was that lady writing to me "I would report your behaviour to the "greens" as you cannot keep a wild animal as a pet". I went to the vet the following week and asked him whether I could do this and he said: "Of course. Just pay Br 8 thousand for vaccination, and Br 20 thousand for a vet passport". I vaccinated him and received the passport, in order to feel safe".