There are two kinds of people in this world: those who love squirrels (and all other animals) and those who think squirrels are essentially rats with fluffy tails. Yesterday I found out I fall into the former category and Matt — not so much.
At first we thought the baby squirrel was dead. We were on a walk last night and it was lying in the street in front of our neighbor’s house, not moving. So after an “oh, how sad,” we continued on our walk, noticing the crispness in the air, a few leaves already turning gold and brown, wondering if summer could possibly be ending so soon.
Then Nina insisted on going back to look at the baby squirrel, and it was moving. Trying to crawl. This tiny baby squirrel was alive, and though its eyes were closed I could tell it wanted to survive. We ran home and grabbed a tupperware and paper towels to make a little nest for it. Matt said leave it and he didn’t want to bring it into the house, so I called our neighbors who are animal lovers. They weren’t interested either. Agreeing with Matt, they suggested we put the baby squirrel under a tree for nature to take its cruel course.
That’s when fate stepped in. Up the street walked two of Matt’s coworkers who, used to work as wildlife rehabilitation specialists. They knew exactly what to do. Picking it up with his bare hands (which I had been too squeamish to do, despite a strong desire to save the little guy), coworker #1 cradled baby squirrel and said, he’s cold. He needs heat. I dug out our old wipes warmer (if you don’t have kids, yes, there is a thing called a wipes warmer. Who wants a freezing cold wipe applied to their buttocks in the dead of winter?) and the coworkers headed home to heat up baby squirrel. Then they googled it and found a local wildlife rehabilitation person who takes squirrels. They rushed the little guy over to the wildlife rehab lady’s house and the squirrel (who we now know is a she) is, as far as I know, in stable condition. [UPDATE: 7:24 p.m. , the baby squirrel has recovered. He’s eating and walking and will be cared for until he’s set free next Spring.]
So is this a story of redemption or a foolish intervention to save vermin? I’ll let you decide. As for me, I think I’d even try to save a baby rat, if I could.