Wednesday, July 9, 2014

It was a dark and stormy night.......

One wet night in March, the cat came in carrying something dark and wet in his mouth and dropped it at my feet. Thinking it was a mouse, I gingerly picked it up with a paper towel and realized it was a tiny baby squirrel. It was ice cold but somehow I knew she wasn't dead and I couldn't just throw her away. I warmed her and she wrapped her little fingers around my finger. Squirrels have the most amazing little hands, little baby hands.
 She made it through the night on a heating pad and the next morning I took her to work with me and bought puppy formula on the way. I fed her every four hours as long as I was awake and much to my surprise she thrived. It was like raising a fetus.
 Three weeks later her eyes opened and about three weeks after that she began to get very active. Up until then she had slept all the time. I let her out of her cage to run around, thinking she would be hard to catch, but no, she never left my side. I sat in the window seat and she ran up one leg, across my shoulders, and down the other leg. Endlessly. She would gently nibble my fingers and at first I though she smelled food on them but then I realized she wanted me to play with her. I would wiggle my fingers at her and she would tussle with my hand, like a kitten. I gave her little stuffed animals and she would wrestle with them. She batted a little ball around. She was so curious and so funny and so smart and into everything. I can't say she was affectionate but she did seem very attached to me. When I came home from work she seemed glad to see me and jumped on my shoulder right away. She tried to bury a nut in my hair. I would work at the computer and she would run up and around the chair the whole time. She was my constant companion and so precious.
First time out

Having a sip of tea

I never named her, just always called her Baby, like in Dirty Dancing.
She grew braver and more independent but she was still very attached to me. At four months old she was old enough to be released, she needed to be released.  I didn't want to release her in my yard because of the cat so last week I took her to my daughter's house where it would be safer and there would still be someone to put food out to be sure she found enough to eat.
I let her out of the carrier and she hopped into the ivy and up on a fallen log. She looked around a few minutes, then came back to me and hopped on my shoulder just like always. Then she hopped away and up the nearest tree. I watched her for a long time, holding my breath as she climbed higher and higher using branches I thought were too small, taking daredevil leaps. I thought I would feel sad but it was a wonderful feeling to see her healthy and happy against all odds. My little miracle baby.

The next morning just before I left I saw her again, I know it was her because of her size. She looked at me but didn't come. I knew she was gone. I felt the tears starting.

I cried all the way home.

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