Monday, September 24, 2007

If You Love Something, Set It Free, If It Comes Back, Set It Free Again

We made a new friend on Saturday! The Husband was in his workshop/garage and this little guy ran right over to him. #1 came in the house shrieking that "Daddy has a flying squirrel on his back" and as I ran upstairs this picture of a bloody, scratched Husband with a rabid squirrel hanging off him was all I could imagine.

#1 can be a little over dramatic at times (and, I have NO idea where she gets that!).

We all passed him around and I called the people at the Hershey Zoo. I think the guy I talked to had his hand over the phone laughing and snickering at me the entire time. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: Hi, we found a baby squirrel in our garage and we aren't sure what we should do.

Zoo Guy: Well, we recommend that you put him back where you found him. They do best that way.

Me: You want me to put him back in my garage?

Zoo Guy: (laughing) No, don't put him in your garage. Put him outside.

Me: But, what if a stray cat gets him? He's just a baby. Should we feed him something? How do we know if he's starving to death? How can we find his mom? Should we call a place that specializes in this sort of thing? He really likes us. He keeps running to us to pick him up. He seems cold.

Zoo Guy: Well, you can bring the squirrel here and we'll give him to The Naturalist (that sounded too close to "The Terminator" for me).

Me: What will The Naturalist do? Just let him go?

Zoo Guy: Probably. Yes.

Me: So, if I let him go here, he'll probably have a better chance of finding his mom instead of giving him to The Terminator....I mean, The Naturalist who will take him far away and let him go in a strange place?

Zoo Guy: Yes. His mom should have taught him to forage for food by now. It would be best to just let him go.

Me: Do you think if he can't find his mom, another squirrel mom will help take care of him? Do squirrels do that....are they like....pack animals and help raise each others' kids?

Zoo Guy: (silence for a moment) Uh...maybe. (And, then the man finally wised up and said what I needed to hear to get me off the phone) Probably, yeah.

That's basically the just of the conversation. So, #1 and I attempted to let Chipper go (yes, we named him) and every time we set him down he came running back to us and tried to crawl up my leg. After several attempts, I just couldn't take it was becoming more like a part of the family as each moment passed. The Husband and #1 took him to the back of our property where there are lots of trees and let him go. They drove away quickly on the lawn tractor with #1 sobbing.

We prayed for him to be safe from cats, hawks, snakes and the cold. While in the woods, they did see him pick up something and start eating, so that was a good thing. I am secretly hoping he comes back and we can have a "pet" squirrel that lives in our backyard and comes to visit us. We'll feed him nuts and call him Chipper.

I can be so juvenile sometimes.


Natalie said...

oh my word!! so YOU were the person the zoo people were laughing about when we passed by them on Saturday. now it all makes sense.


Krazy Klingers said...

When I was 7 a baby squirrel followed me home one day. I picked him up and he would crawl up my arm and lay behind my hair on my neck. My mom was afraid of rabies so we called a naturalist who actually fed them and raised to adults and then set them free. To this day I wish I would have kept him as a pet.I named mine hopper because he hopped instead of walked.

Beautiful Grace said...

You make me laugh. You really remind me of my sister, who just loves animals and actually sucessfully performed CPR on her pet fish. :)