We were alarmed to see Finn eyeing a small creature on the corner of the patio. Too big to be a mouse, too grey to be a chipmunk, the tiny squirrel kit was clearly in danger. I donned gloves, scooped it up and carried it to where I knew it belonged: the giant old maple on the corner of the garage, aging badly but home to thriving scurry, or family, of squirrels. Each spring a fresh scurry appears, the kits practicing the daredevil skills they will need in life, racing each other ‘round the trunk and leaping from limb to limb. We enjoy the show from our living room window.
Somehow the foundling had left the safety of the nest high in a rotted hollow and landed on the ground. I tucked it into the crotch of a branch and stepped away. Then I saw another slightly smaller sibling clinging to the tree. A grim search of the road revealed that mother had perished and the kits were orphans. What to do?
We started with Google and found what to do: Pedialyte in an eyedropper to the rescue. A towel-lined box in a warm spot became a safe place to sleep. And calls to wildlife rehabilitators found a place of rescue. A third kit appeared and was added to the box and off they went to capable care. A fourth was too wary and stayed high in the tree. We could never coax it down so left it cracked corn, watched it grow, until one day it disappeared. Yes, it’s a battle against futility and fate is hard hearted, but still, we try.