Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Squirrel Whisperer

Yesterday I walked into my room to read for a bit and noticed a squirrel on my window:
I found this odd because the squirrel wasn't moving at all--he was just sitting there. In fact he sat there for about 5 minutes. So, I attempted to read my book and not be distracted, but like I said--it was odd. I finally got up to take a closer look and when he saw me, he scurried away. So..I went back to reading and not a minute later I hear a squeaking sound coming from outside. I know it's the squirrel and I know he's hurt and my damn bleeding heart won't allow me to just ignore it! So...I head outside to investigate. He's hunched up close to the house and I can see that he has blood around his mouth and nose. I also notice that my 90 pound black lab is in the yard. (Jackass.) So..I run inside to Google "how to save a hurt squirrel" and I return wearing my husband's long welding gloves and a pair of tall boots. (I was quite the sight.) Let me pause here to say that "Rabies" is one of my biggest fears. It's up there with "prison." I've heard the stories about all the shots you have to get in your stomach and it sounds awful. Plus if you actually "get" Rabies, you turn into a foaming, psychotic lunatic and then you die. But I divert--back to the squirrel...

I pick up the baby squirrel with my awkward welding gloves and place him in a box padded with soft blankets. I then place the box inside our screened porch and head inside to prepare his milk. (I read online that I should try to feed him milk with a syringe.) I warmed the milk up to room temp and headed out to feed the baby. He drank it like a pro. Here's a pic:
I checked him over really carefully and the only damage I could find was what looked like a tooth mark on his chin. (Probably our dog.) I cleaned off his bloody face and even put Neosporin on his wound. Then I left him in his box to rest with no further ideas on what to do. I checked on him before bed and he was still breathing. I got up at the crack of dawn to check on him again and to feed him more milk. My hubby snapped a pic:
Again I put him back in his box to rest. Then I texted my neighbors--the husband and wife team of Veterinarians for advice. I was referred to the "Squirrel Lady" named Jan who works at the flower shop. What? I called information for the number and our conversation went like this:

Jan: "Flower Land"
Me: "Hi--can I speak with Jan?"
Jan: "This' Jan."
Me: "Hi. Um--this is awkward. My name is Annie and I was told that you're the Squirrel Whisperer."
Jan: Laughter and then, "Ya--what's going on?"
Me: Well I found a squirrel yesterday that was just sitting on my window for like 5 minutes which is really odd."
Jan: "No it's not..."
Me: "Huh?"
Jan: "This is the time of year when all the babies are coming down from the trees for the first time and they get disoriented and sometimes they can't figure out how to get back up to their nest or which tree to climb and sometimes they climb your house in confusion. He was confused."
Me: "Oh."
Jan: "So what happened?"
Me: "Well he started squeaking and I went outside to find him curled up against the house and our dog was near by and I think he may have mouthed him a bit because the squirrel had blood coming out of his nose and mouth like he was internally bleeding."
Jan: "He wasn't internally bleeding."
Me: "How do you know?"
Jan: "Because he'd be dead."
Me: "Oh."
Jan: "So what'd you do?"
Me: "Well I put him in a box with blankets...
Jan: "How'd you pick him up?"
Me: "Oh--don't worry--I have an irrational fear of Rabies (and prison) so I wore my husband's long welding gloves and a pair of tall boots."
Jan: Big sigh and then, "Squirrels don't have Rabies. Pretty much nothing smaller than a Raccoon has Rabies. A squirrel can't hurt you. Even if it bites you, it can't hurt you."
Me: "What? Really?"
Jan: "Yes."
Me: "Okay well anyway, I put him in a box with blankets and then I fed him room temperature milk with a syringe and he drank it."
Jan: "What kind of milk?"
Me: "Whole milk."
Jan: "Cow's milk?"
Me: "Yes"
Jan: "NO! Who told you to do that? Squirrels are Lactose intolerant; you could kill him."
Me: "But I read to do that online.."
Jan: "Where?"
Me: "I don't remember the name of the website; I just Googled it."
Jan: "Well it's wrong. You need to feed him canned Puppy milk from the Pet Store and you can give him Pedialyte or Gatorade."
Me: "Okay."
Jan: "Are his eyes open?"
Me: "Yes."
Jan: "Then he's atleast 5 or 6 weeks old. You can feed him fruit and unsalted nuts."
Me: "Okay."
Jan: "Are you planning to Rehab this squirrel yourself?"
Me: "I guess so."
Jan: "Okay--what's he doing now?"
Me: "He's just curled up all comfy in his blankets."
Jan: "Then he's cold--you need a heating pad."
Me: Feeling overwhelmed now--"Okay."
Jan: "So what are his injuries exactly?"
Me: "He had blood around his nose and mouth and I think a tooth mark from my dog on his chin."
Jan: "Blood around the mouth and nose is extremely common--they are always cutting their lips with those sharp teeth--especially as babies."
Me: "Oh."
Jan: "So other than the small cut on his chin, he's fine and he's eating for you?"
Me: "Yes"
Jan: "Well then he's fine and you need to let him go because his mama is looking for him."
Me: "Really?"
Jan: "Yes--all Mammals look for their babies and he has 5 or 6 siblings waiting for him too."
Me: Actually feeling guilty now--"So what do I do?"
Jan: "Do you know which tree he came out of?"
Me: "No--we are surrounded by trees!"
Jan: "Okay then you need to put him in a shoebox with no lid back under that same window where you found him. Do it around 5:30 or 6:00 this evening and his mama will find him."
Me: "Okay. Thanks."
Jan: "No problem."
Me: "Jan, I've got to ask you something..WHY are you working at a flower shop?"
Jan: "Because I own it."
Me: Lol. "Well it just seems like you should have a Squirrel show on Animal Planet or something."
Jan: "Nah. I've been Rehabbing Squirrels for 30 years--just a hobby. Call me back though if you need anything else."

So that's it folks. I spoke with an actual Squirrel Whisperer today. I did feed him Gatorade and Blueberries before releasing him and he scarfed them up. Amazing. Who knew? As I left him under the window in his little shoebox and walked away, I saw him peeking up over the sides of it scared to actually go anywhere. I felt sad and worried for him. I really hope his mama comes to get him tonight. I'm not allowing myself to check the box until morning. And if he's still there in the morning? Well you know what I'll do don't you? I'll call Jan. :)

5 comments:

  1. I hope his Mama comes and gets him too. I'm so glad you took care of him. He's just a baby.

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  2. I NEED a squirrel update!!!!

    Hope it found mama and you didn't get too attached...(:

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  3. Hooray!! The Mama came for him this morning! Good job surrogating, Annie.

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  4. I'm not even kidding, you have a gift. And it's not JUST squirrel rehabin'. You are officially THE BEST story teller I know. When Jan answered and said, " Flowerland", I was already laughing!

    How do you remember such details about the conversation? You just wait until you are low on estrogen and going through the change, you'll forget everything plus you'll be too sleepy to go outside and tend to a squirrel.

    I just love you-

    DD

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  5. One more thing. In the movie that I was pretend making while I was reading your conversation... Jan was the girl from The Bridesmaids. You know, the one that fell off the cruise ship. You were Christina Applegate from Up All Night- duh!

    And I was your supercool, hot and funny friend - think young Cameron Diaz-

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