I swore I’d never do this again. Throughout my childhood and teen years, it seemed like clockwork: Spring came and I rescued a baby animal or injured critter, which would eventually die, leaving me in tears. I said last year I was NOT having anything to do with that baby robin. If he wanted to jump featherless out of the darned tree every morning, then let nature take his course. I didn’t mean to name him Geronimo and get all attached like that. So yesterday afternoon when we found a baby squirrel on the sidewalk (another jumper), I told my husband it was very sad for little squirrel, but he’ll probably not make it. “Let’s keep going.” Cold? Callous? I don’t really know. The squirrel’s nest was so far up the tree that I knew this tiny thing whose eyes were still closed, ears pinned to the sides of his head, probably wouldn’t stand a chance. He was making hungry grunting sounds and I honestly thought he was in his last moments. But my husband couldn’t leave him. He started asking what one would feed it, and how one would care for it, and what one would let a baby squirrel sleep in.
We carried it home in my son’s Pooh hat.
I said I wouldn’t get attached. I said it could sleep in a box in the garage. Somehow the little bugger ended up sleeping in our living room in a plastic container, lined with torn paper and a thin baby blanket. And miraculously he not only made it through the night, he seems to be gaining strength. His paw, which seemed to be pretty badly damaged last night, looks to be just fine now. He’s gained a good amount of energy, and although he spends most of his time sleeping snuggled against a stuffed sock, when he is awake he’s kinda – well, squirrely.
I don’t know what we’ll do with him if he survives. After all, squirrels don’t mix well with mini dachshunds or little boys. We do have a nature center nearby, and I know they deal with rescued animals. So if the little guy manages to grow and thrive, then I imagine we’ll take him there. Since I myself have never been a squirrel, I don’t know how to teach him to be one. And I know the nature center has its resources. They’ve had a one-winged, one-eyed owl for years, so I imagine they wouldn’t mind having a squirrel with a limp.
In the meantime I’ll try not to get attached, but he does require regular feedings, and gosh darn he sure looks cute sleeping next to my sock…