A couple of years ago, we had a squirrel event. I just realized that I've never posted this story on my blog, so here we go!
6pm August 17, 2008
Last night, Hubby was sitting in the formal living room and I was puttering in the kitchen. Hubby heard this odd noise out front and went to look. He says, "Oh, Callie's killing something for us and it's squeaking". Ewww, well, let's let her finish it. She sees that we've paid attention and brings the little bugger to the front door rug. Big grin. It's for YOU! Hubby grabs her collar and pulls her back from it.
What on earth is that? Huge squeak from the little guy - obviously boy. Bigger than a mouse, leggy-er than a mole (she's brought home 2 of those). I finally figure out that it's a squirrel! Tiny baby, hairless, amazingly well defined, vicious, feet and claws, very long tail with gray fuzz, and a head that looks squirrel like. It's eyes are still closed! It fell out of its nest and Callie was playing with it. It had tiny little scratches on it, but no obvious damage. No fresh teeth marks.
Now what do we do?! It's like the bunny problem (what do you do with a live baby bunny?). Only louder. I swear this thing whistles. We bring the cat in and carefully place the baby squirrel near the base of a tree without touching it. Maybe the mama will come and haul it back to the nest. It's a stretch and we know it. Maybe nature will otherwise take care of it by morning. You know, owls.
Well, the poor little guy is still there at 10pm, having slid down the non-existent hill a bit. He's shut up and is holding still so as not to attract owl attention. We can't do away with it ourselves when it seems so viable, and vulnerable. If it had had a leg half chewed off or was otherwise damaged, maybe, but no.
Hubby and I go to bed at the same time. About 30 minutes after we've stopped talking and based on our flopping around, I know we're both awake. I say, “you thinking about that stinkin’ squirrel?”
“YES! What on earth would we do with a squirrel? You can't potty train them. They are really wild!” Hubby says.
“We're leaving in 10 days for vacation and who on earth could we convince to bottle feed an infant squirrel that may or may not have its eyes open yet. The kittens didn't start to walk until they were about a month old,” I say.
“And we have a cat who will think we let her keep a toy to torture!” Hubby says.
“If it lasts the night, we'll figure out what to do with it in the morning,” I say.
7:55 am. I'm supposed to leave at 8am. I leave Callie inside and go look in the yard. It's still there and rooting around on the ground for a titty to nurse.
I go tell Hubby. This is too much for our apparently tender hearts. “Awwwwoh!”
I hold Callie on my lap while I put a posting on Craigslist saying “please adopt my infant squirrel” in the pets section. I put Hubby's phone number on it at about 8am. I put one of Callie's cat blankets in a xerox box and make a little nest. I’m sure the smell of that blanket was terrifying to the poor little bugger. I heat an ounce of milk and find the eye dropper. I go fetch the little guy and put the cat out.
I carefully try to feed the little guy which is trickier than you'd think. I wrap him loosely in a paper towel and try to get the eye dropper in his mouth. It's nostrils are so very close to its mouth that occasionally it has to stop and snort a bit. Out of three dropper-fulls, I bet one got in his tummy. I'm horribly late for work and leave at 8:25 with the box in the kitchen, squirrel wrapped in fleece.
9:00 am I get to work late with this weird squirrel story. I check my email. Four emails from people who either want the squirrel or know a place that will take it. FOUR! I forward them to Hubby, not knowing he can't find his blackberry. At 10am, he calls me begging me to take the posting down because his phone is ringing off the hook! I do so immediately. HOW WEIRD!!! Hubby has worked on feeding it too and so we're not worried about it being dehydrated, even if it isn't well fed.
Hubby comes to town to meet the new squirrel owner with the box in the car and takes me out to lunch. I check on the little guy before we go to eat. The squirrel had gotten stuck between the side of the box and the fleece and was so cold, it was balled up as tight as it could go. I moved him back to the nest, breathed hot air on him a time or two, and covered him completely over with the fleece blanket. We left all the windows cracked an inch and went to lunch. It’s maybe 85 degrees outside and the car won’t get roasting while we’re gone, but it will get warmer in there. After lunch, he's warm enough to sit in my hand with all his legs spread out. He starts whistling for mama again and we’re guessing it’s lunch time for Mr. Squirrel.
Hubby meets the guy at 12:30. This guy has driven about 30 miles to come get this infant squirrel! Who knew there was a "market" for these things! He shows up in a beat up truck, missing a tooth, and slightly malodorous. The guy wraps it up in a rag he brought and puts it in his shirt, saying it still seemed a little cold to him. He said he knew we probably thought he was really pretty weird. Well, we were weird enough to post it on Craigslist. He asked Hubby what he had fed the squirrel.
“Just what we had, 2% milk that was warmed a little.”
He said, “Awww, cow’s milk isn't that good for squirrels. Dog's milk is better.”
Long pause. Hubby says, “Well, we didn't have a lactating dog to milk.”
Dude says, “Well, I do.” Another long pause. Hubby didn't ask if they actually milk the dog or just attach the squirrel to the dog. The guy says he has 9 kids and even more animals and this will be a nice addition to the family farm. Guy leaves with the squirrel in his shirt and leaves Hubby shaking his head.
So the squirrel is alive and very likely being loved by a small pack of children. So that was our 12 hours living in bizarro world!
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