Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Our babies

We have been told by friends they feel we are related Dr. Dolittle and if there is an injured animal within a 30 mile range it some how knows to come to our house. We have had our share of injured and orphaned animals through the years but our experience from last fall I think is our favorite.

We decided to build a deck over our existing patio in our back yard last fall. Greg had the great idea of going "green" and he found a lot of used recyclable lumber... ( I know there is a specific name for used lumber but I can't think of it) Most of this wood was used for the frame of the deck.

The deck building became a big source of entertainment for our family as well as our surrounding neighbors. Greg built this deck from start to finish in one week so you can imagine the time spent outside. He worked from sun up to sun down everyday for a week with only taking breaks to make needed trips to Lowe's.

After all the reclaimed wood was used up (there is that word.... RECLAIMED) we needed to purchase lumber from Lowe's to finish the job. We began carrying all the lumber to the back yard stacking it according to size and created a little lumber stack under the tree next to the frame of the deck.

You can see the stack of wood down in the lower left hand side of this picture. There are tree limbs over the entire stack of wood up above.

As Greg worked on the deck, and I sat handing him tools or holding pieces of wood when instructed to do so, we heard little squeaks and chatter coming from the tree. I looked up and saw a little squirrel swishing his tail at us. He would climb all the way down the tree and hang upside down and watch Greg's every move. We thought he was cute and didn't think much more about it.

You can see how very tired Murphy is after his hard day of building the deck....

Poor dog... he has such a rough life.

One day after we had gone in the house for dinner our neighbors, who live behind us, called us on the phone. They told us the little squirrel who had been chattering to us earlier in the day had fallen out of the tree and landed on our wood pile and was unconscious. We immediately ran outside to the little baby lying on our wood pile with blood coming out of her nose. We wrapped her in a towel, brought her in the house and placed her in a dark, warm, quiet box in case she was in shock.

As we were getting her set up our neighbors said "there is another one up in the tree". Sure enough another little squirrel (clearly upset we had taken his sister) was chattering at us quite loudly. We started talking to him (I used baby talk since they were babies... it just felt right) I said "come here little baby, come here... it's OK" and we held out our hand with a peanut in it. He climbed all the way down the tree to us, ate the nut and allowed us to pet him. ( This was the beginning of a beautiful relationship) :)

Murphy is sad he wasn't allow to help.

I then began to think, if his sister is injured what better way to bring her heart rate down and give her the best chance of survival than to have a sibling lying next to her. So we reached up into the tree and gently picked him up. He was still eating his peanut and didn't seem at all nervous. He clearly was very hungry and we were beginning to think maybe something had happened to their mother. We brought squirrel #2 into the house and placed him in the box with his injured sister. Because her nose was bleeding, we thought maybe she had internal injuries. Her brother quickly snuggled up to her and the two of them began to sleep with their little tails wrapped around them. (so cute)

As we walk outside we hear Leslie tell our neighbors (who were still outside to watch the Leslie Jergens Experience instead of Jeff Corwin) "I see another one up there" she said. Leslie has now managed to climb up into the crook of the tree and she was calling to the third little squirrel the way I had called to the other. He started to climb down the tree to her and he would stay just barely out of reach. He was swishing his tail and he REALLY wanted the peanut she was holding. She decided to climb further up into the tree to try to reach him. Greg and I were getting a little nervous at this point because she was wearing shorts, no shoes and was climbing very high up into our tree. She sat up there for a little while winning the trust of this little guy. We couldn't stand the thought of him going through the night alone with no siblings so she was persistent. He eventually came close enough and she was able to grab him. Now she was very high in our tree holding a baby squirrel and she needed both hands to get down. "What now"? she says as she looks down at us. I always think it is much harder (and scarier) to climb down from a tree than it is to climb up it. I told her to lift up her shirt (she had a tank top on under her shirt) and place him on your belly... he should hold on. Sure enough the little guy grabbed on and stayed in place as she climbed all the way down and out of the tree. He was very happy to be reunited with his siblings in the dark, quiet box.

It was then time to examine the little girl with injuries. I was afraid to look at her because I have had so many animals die when there have been blood around the eyes, nose, ears and mouth. We all went into Leslie's room where the babies were being kept and I gently opened the box and lifted her out. I felt her abdomen and didn't feel any swelling nor did I feel anything broken. I looked into her eyes and they were dilating when light was shown into them. As I examined her little face I noticed her nose was mashed. The blood from her nose was actually a nose bleed. She had taken a pretty hard fall onto a stack of lumber and had only bloodied her nose. She was wheezing a little while breathing due to the blood in her nose so we named her Wheezy. She was so cute and little. We reached into the box and held the other two babies and they too were as sweet as they could be. One particular squirrel was more vocal than the other two so we named him Grumbly; he would grumble about everything. The third squirrel was so snuggly and loved to sleep in our hand so we named him Cuddles. We then realized we had 3 wild squirrels in our house.... in our hands and now we have them named... it is not looking good.

We were already in love.

Align Center

We set up a cage for the three of them with bedding and water. We noticed they only had nubs for teeth so they couldn't eat anything hard. We fed them raisins,Craisins, grapes and soft nuts.

We placed the cage outside so they could be in their own environment.

We kept them for 3 days in the cage for observational purposes. We enjoyed their company during those three days.

Once we saw Wheezy eating and drinking we opened the cage to allow them to come and go as they wished. They would still come down the tree when called and would allow us to hold them and feed them.

We are now in our 8th month of friendship with these little guys and we still enjoy spending time with them. They do not like to be touched these days (typical teenagers), however they still will walk over and take nuts from our hands while we sit on our deck. They will also sit on the deck and look in the window to catch our attention so we will feed them walnuts.

If we for some reason have our blinds closed they will climb to the top of our table umbrella and look through the windows of our cathedral ceiling.

They really have us wrapped around their little fingers. It has been a true joy to watch them grow up over the past several months.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, Rachel. I've just learned that you have a blog, and, I have to say I'm a fan! Keep it up!