>> Monday, August 30, 2010
When we came home from work tonight we noticed some kind of hullabaloo in the bleeding hearts. Spouse made a quick dart toward the garden, and out shot a feral cat in one direction, and out tottered a baby squirrel in the other direction.
The poor little squirrel flipped onto his back and started chattering when we approached him, but appeared to have escaped his tormentor relatively unscathed. Spouse stood guard over him, while I shot into the house to find gloves and some kind of box to put him in while we debated what to do. Poor baby. He was clearly too young to be turned loose in the back yard with the local cats on the prowl.
Have I mentioned that I have inherited my Father's soft spot for gray squirrels? I do love them. They're such jolly, happy little creatures. I grew up with a yard full of them, and can't remember a time when squirrels didn't make me happy. When I was a kid, my Dad, being the kidder that he is, used to tell me that "squirrel" was really just short for their full proper name of "squirrellybird". I believed him for years.
Anywho, there was no way I was going to leave the poor critter defenseless, to starve a slow painful death, or be tortured to death by cats. I plunked the fuzzy baby in the upstairs bathroom for a few minutes while I figured out what to do with him. When he hit the linoleum he grunted squeakily, tottered around, peed, and then fell asleep while trying to nurse on my leather glove.
Here's baby, looking a little sleepy:
And here he is with my glove, for size comparison:
I love the Internet. I quick search for "wildlife rehabilitator" and the name of my Village, and on the third page I found the name and phone number of a licensed local rehabilitator. A quick phone call confirmed that a) our baby was definitely too young to be on his own, and b) she would be happy to look after him. So we plunked him into the cat carrier and took him for his first car ride.
A 1/2 hour drive later, and our fuzzy friend was clearly in good hands. I had handled Mr. Fuzzy with leather gloves, because I didn't relish the idea of having baby rodent teeth embedded in my fingers. But our wildlife rehabilitator reached right into the cat carrier and scooped him out. He promptly curled himself around her warm fingers, and in less than a minute had fallen sound asleep. Guess he'd had a mighty long day, and is used to being curled up against somebody warm for sleeping.
The rehabilitator said he was a normal weight, and wasn't dehydrated, so we had clearly found him in time. She said he'd go right into her new squirrel enclosure with the other squirrels she has who are about his same age. Somehow that knowledge - that he'd soon be sleeping in a fuzzy pile of other lost baby squirrels - gave me immense comfort.
And, just because we are who we are, I will put the rehabilitator's contact info into my phone. Somehow I suspect we just might see her again.