Yesterday, I looked up to see my son making a beeline for the house, a combination of fear and excitement across his face. I hurried downstairs to check on him. He was hyped about something hidden just beyond his swing set.
“There!” He pointed. “It’s some kind of animal, and it’s all pink.”
Not a big fan of the “wild kingdom,” I timidly peeked into the dried leaves. Lying nearly lifeless, but not quite, was a tiny, hairless, pink-colored creature, fresh from the womb. We stood there, watching, speculating, until I decided that it was probably a squirrel. It must have fallen out of nest, and now there was no one to take care of it, except the red fox that sometimes visits. I noticed my 10 year-old who LOVES animals looking at me, expecting me to save the thing.
Right about now, you’re probably thinking that I should have either (a) Put on a pair of garden gloves and picked it up; or (b) Left it alone and allowed that whole “Circle of Life” thing to happen. I sort-of went with (b), reasoning that Mama Squirrel might come looking for her baby. So when Jeff returned from work, an hour or two later, that little “thumb of a squirrel” was laying precisely where we found it.
A doctor by day, with the heart of a veterinarian, Jeff did three things, which probably saved a young life.
- He placed the unprotected infant in a pet carrier, wrapped it in swaddling clothing (thank you baby Jesus), and started a lamp to keep it warm.
- He mixed a potion of water, sugar and salt. Think – homemade Gatorade – although I think he was going for more of a Pedialyte-vibe. Using a medicine dropper, he hydrated the animal every 20 minutes; and
- He phoned an animal rescue shelter in the area. Before the dinner hour was up, the baby was in its new home.
Our 10 year-old tagged along to make the drop-off. When they reached the shelter they learned three things:
- The owner of the shelter loved squirrels; they were her favorite.
- The baby “it” was really a “she.” (Funny how things ‘suddenly’ appear when you know what to look for.)
Noah named her “Pinky” after his favorite baby blanket. Oh, and probably most importantly…
3. The new owner thinks that Pinky has a very good chance of surviving.
Some people are animal lovers. I’m not afraid to admit that I am not one of them. While I don’t dislike animals, I strongly believe that people who LOVE them should be the ones to purchase, adopt, feed, raise, and care for them.
Yet, somehow, we tend to wind up taking care of a small animal every few years. I