Last night, I came home after work to find Chris walking out the front door. I asked him where he was going. He motioned for me to come with him. I never refuse.
We walked out into our driveway, next to the house and there we stood, looking for something, but I had no idea what.
He explained that when he took Madison out earlier, there was a friendly squirrel that was hanging around. "A little too friendly", he said.
Sure enough, we see the cute little guy approching. He was sticking really close to the edge of the house and then he ran right up to us.
He was adorable. He wasn't a newborn, but he was definitely a baby. His tail was as big as his body, he looked a little like this.
photo courtesy of 247wildlife.com
He was trying to stand on our feet and climb up our pant legs, which is not normal behavior for a squirrel.
We are not squirrel people. We have never seen a baby. Is he sick? Does he have rabies? Will he bite me!?
But, I was in love. I couldn't just leave him. It was obvious that something was wrong. You can't just show me a cute little defenseless animal and not let me help it. But again, I am not a squirrel person.
We quickly came inside and got to work.
We looked up a number for Animal Control in our city. We dialed. We got voicemail. It was after 5pm. Damn.
We looked up another number for Animal Control for the town. We dialed. No answer. Damn.
At that moment, I also remembered that this past weekend, there was a dead squirrel that got hit by a car right in front of our house. That was my ah-ha moment.
I told Chris that it was likely the mama got hit and the baby is all alone and scared now. Awww.
Now I was really on a mission.
There is a vet right down the road from us. I looked up the number. We called and someone answered. Chris was given another number. He dialed. Voicemail. We left another message. Argh.
I went for the big guns. I called my, well Madison's, vet. Someone answered. I explained my silly story and the women said " Yeah, hold on, we have the number of a women who resuces squirrels, I'll get you the number" Elation! Yes!
I dialed that number and Kim answered. My heart was beating so fast.
I explained my story and she was quite sympathetic and appreciative that we called. I told her about my suspicions about the mama. She agreed. She asked me about his tail, which I thought was strange, but later learned it helps tell their age. The younger the squirrel, the flatter the tail. As they get a bit older, it fills out fluffier and fluffier.
She knew squirrels!
I told her I wasn't sure if he needed rescue, he wasn't a small baby. She assured me that hy would need rescue. With mama gone, he would be hungry, not being able to fend for himself, and that he needed protection from predators. She said we did the right thing. Whew.
It turns out she was close by. Only about a 5 minute drive. Only one problem. She was at work and she couldn't leave. We need to bring the squirrel to her! Uh, what? How in the? I wouldn't know how to, um. Oh, my, what have I done???
She explained that we needed to try to get him in a box and drive him over. She would meet us outside her job to do the hand off. We were to call on our cell phone when we were close.
And then, she adds another little twist. She assures me there is not just one baby. Most litters are from three to six babies and she wants us to see if we can find others. Hey, I am not sure I can catch one…no less six squirrels.
Off we go, box in hand and a few walnuts to entice the little fella.
We head out into the driveway. He's no where to be found. My heart sinks. We walk up and down, looking under the porch, calling him, walking along the rock wall. Nothing.
Just as I am walking back to go in the house, I see a gray tail shake in a tree across the street. I walk over and find two baby squirrels curled up in the crook of the tree, about two feet above my head, cuddling with each other. As I get closer, they look scared, they were shaking a little. Double Awww.
I called Kim back. Told her we found two and had no idea how we would get them out of the tree. She must have sensed our trepidation on the phone earlier, because she informed us that she called a friend of hers that helps with the rescue efforts. He was on his way over. He'd be there in 10 minutes. Great.
I stood guard at the tree to make sure they didn't run away. I placed some walnuts in the crooks of the highest branches I could reach. They made cute little noises, like they were hungry. They fought over the walnuts and quickly devoured them. I am sure they were hungry.
I have to tell you, at this point I wanted nothing more to run in the house and grab my camera and snap shots of these little cuties. They looked so helpless tucked in the tree and huddled together. But, for the greater good, I didn't. I feared if I left they might run or I might scare them with the camera. So I have no pictures. But I assure you…they were adorable.
Chris had run in the house to get another box and his gloves, in case we had to grab them. I see him come out of front door and down the front steps and right in front of him another baby runs out from under the shrubs and out onto the sidewalk. Now we have three!
I yell to Chris and he tries to catch that one, to no avail. They are quick little suckers and I am sure he was frightened.
Chris runs inside to get yet another box.
I pick up the box he just brought out and I throw some walnuts in it. The third one scurries across the road toward me and toward his siblings in the tree. As he is sitting on the curb, I put the box with the walnuts open and facing the curb. He takes a flying leap and lands right in the box. I was so shocked I jumped, screamed and quickly folded the flaps down so he couldn't escape!
Yeah!! One down, two to go.
Chris came out and I told him I caught one. We are convinced that one was our original friend we saw in the driveway. He was not scared of us, where as the others were and had not left the tree.
About two minutes later, the Squirrel Rescue Man pulled up in his car. Relief.
He looked at the babies and told us we made the right call. He was very happy that we did. He said they definitely couldn't survive on their own.
He donned his gloves, climbed up the step ladder we had propped against the tree for him and he grabbed one and put him right in a box he brought. Easy Peazy.
The second one, wasn't going to go without a fight.
He ran around the tree a few times. I grabbed my box and tried to get him on the ground 3 or 4 times before he bolted into the neighbors flower garden, conveniently located behind a fence.
Mr. Squirrel Rescue Man was able to crawl part way into the garden and grab his tail from behind. He couldn't move and he was screaming a little while Chris grabbed him from the front. He tried to bite Chris on his gloves. Poor guy, so scared. I know. I know.
Mr. Squirrel Rescue Man told us how many he had home right now at various stages of rescue. He weans them with a cage that slowly allows them to get used to the outside and eventually, when they are ready and can survive, they will be set free again.
He thanked us profusely for doing the right thing. I felt good about our decision and I know Chris did as well. We saved three baby squirrels.
But all we did was make a few phone calls. Kim and Mr. Squirrel Man do the real work.
I am amazed that people actually do this. Out of the goodness of their hearts. Because they care. We love animals and we care, but this is a different level of caring.
I am grateful and humbled by what they do. And I thank them from the bottom of my heart.
So what about you? Have you ever rescued anything? Do you think we are crazy? What would you have done?