Monday, August 22, 2011

Goodbye Little Friend

I must apologise for my lack of blogging these past two weeks. I have been on some kind of emotional roller coaster. I am the first to admit that it was all a bit too much, that the balance I try to achieve on a daily basis was just not happening. In fact, it felt like the scales had been totally knocked over. I am talking about my little friend, the thing we found in the garden two weeks ago. We named him Ratty - from Wind in the Willows - although it turns out he was actually a baby squirrel.

So, this time two weeks ago I was trying to reunite Ratty with his mother. I left him outside in the exact same spot that we found him. I left him there all day - praying that his Mother would come. I checked on him a few times and changed his little heat pad to make sure he stayed warm. Apparently, Mothers wont take them back if they are cold. Come 5pm I knew she wasn't coming, so I brought him back in. I decided to look after him until I could get him some help. This entailed feeding him puppy formula every two hours and helping him go to the loo - nice!! He survived his second night at our house.

The next day I decided to try and find some help for Ratty. There are people called rehabbers, they hold a Licence from the State that entitles them to look after wild life in their homes. It is actually against the law to have wild life in your home without a licence. So, I am on the phone most of the day. I must have spoken to thirty different people, all telling me the same thing. They are bulging at the seams with wild life and can not take a pinky, (a baby squirrel). I ring the wildlife rehabilitation clinic - same story. I ring Colorado Wild Life Organisation - same story. La de da de da......

So here I am, stuck with the baby squirrel. Not only stuck with the squirrel but breaking the law at the same time. Having to feed it every two hours, helping it go to the loo. Stressing that the Oompa Loompas would accidently drop it or that my old boys, (the labs) would think it was supper. At the same time being a hygiene freak - making sure that everything and everyone washed their hands even if they looked at Ratty!! I mean, you just never know.

Fast forward another seven nights - Ratty is still with us. My hands are red-raw from all that hand washing. I am sooooooooo tired and soooooooooo stressed. I still can't find a rehabber to take him and then he gets sick. He starts to get a really bad upset tummy - very typical when rehabbing baby squirrels. Puppy milk isn't squirrel milk and either they get used to it or they die. So for the next 24 hours I switch over to Pedialyte - hoping that his tummy gets better. Then I start hearing a clicking sound - this is not good. It means that he has breathed in some of his food - again very common with a baby squirrel and he has got pneumonia.

So I now need to find him some antibiotics. I am asking everyone if they have any in their house. I can't take him to the vet as they, by law, have to put him down. I am trying to persuade the chap in the local chemist to just give me a thimble sized bit - but no, it is near on impossible without a prescription.

That evening, I just feel so helpless. I have tried all day to get some antibiotics without any luck. I have tried more rehabbers, without any luck. He still has an upset tummy, he has lost a lot of weight, I know that very soon he is going to die. It is super embarrassing but I just break down and cry. I pick him up, give him a little stoke goodbye and go to bed - not expecting him to be alive when I wake up.

But low and behold, he is alive when I wake up. I then decide that I am totally out of my depth. I really need some help. So, I ring the Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre again and tell them that he is really sick, I beg them to take him and they finally agree. So I bundle the OL's in the car and off we go - did I mention that this place is miles away. Oh well, I never mind seeing new bits of Colorado.

The whole trip takes us 4 hours. I feel relieved to have handed him over to the pros. They put him on Oxygen straight away and started some antibiotics. I ask them what are his chances - they say 50/50. They give me a card with his number on and say that I can ring in a couple of days to find out how he's doing. I can't bring myself to ring them - do I really want to know?

That was a few days ago, I am pleased that life is going back to normal. I now realise that I took on far more than I could handle. I also never knew that I was that emotional - I am obviously blaming my hormones as I am still nursing baby OL. AND the weirdest thing of all...............I don't even like squirrels!!!!


  1. Oh this is so are such a hero for doing this!!!!!!! Is he still alive???? I would have to know!!
    We tried many times to raise baby rabbits after our dog seemed to find the nest every year. most of the time it was unsucessful because they were just so small. But a few times some made it through and it was so rewarding! You probably gave that little guy a better chance than he would have has naturally!

  2. Oh Tara, I'm exhausted just reading everything you've done for the little guy! You have such a compassionate heart to go to those extremes for something that most people would just give up on. You must feel so great just knowing you did everything you could to sustain his life! I'm with Audrey, though, I'd have to know how he's doing.

    Hugs to you girl....get some rest!

  3. That is so wonderful of you to do that for that little animal. I would have done the same. Get some rest and know you have done something great!!!

  4. You know you must scrap this and share your tender heart.

  5. That is such a nice story! Sounds like something my mom would have done - she loooooves squirrels and lost animals. I got my kit and loooved it! thanks! looking forward to next month !!!

  6. Thanks for all your kind comments - I think I will call the center today and find out how Ratty is - fingers crossed. xx

  7. Wow what an amazing story well done on helping him, he looks adorable and so small in the photo, if you hadn't of said it was a squirrel I would have thought it was a baby mole lol.

    I know how you feel in regards to taking on too much and feeling rather helpless, I have rescued quite a few baby Starlings over time and they need feeding every 15 mins or so as babies I defiantly felt I took to much on, but I didn't want them to die so did the best I could til they were ready to be released or the RSPCA could pick them up.

    hope the little feller pulls through x

  8. I wanna know if he made it I am in suspense? Please let me know ... Cheryl in Tennessee