We have never been known to have underfed animals, and that goes for wildlife too. Where most folks purchase squirrel proof feeders and shoo them away, we set out welcome signs. We have a long history with squirrels.
It started with me as a child and teenager at the park feeding them and talking with them. I didn’t think it strange, I still believed everyone spoke to animals. Our first home we had together in Parker had a lot of squirrels, one particular was named Pierre, and he had a large bowl that we kept on the table in the back yard filled with bird seed and squirrel food. The birds could still get to it and we didn’t have to mess with feeders. One time we heard him yelling so we looked out our window. There he was with his empty bowl. He caught sight of us, showed us the empty bowl, then threw it on the ground. Yes, squirrels are not much better than toddlers, I am afraid.
We moved to Elbert county, and to our surprise found that there were hardly any squirrels! We had one that visited us on the porch in the mornings as we had our coffee when we lived in Elizabeth. His name was Pedro. When we moved to Kiowa, there were even less! We were delighted when we noted the squirrel nest in the tree near the road. Unfortunately one baby fell out of the nest. I carried him in my shirt tending to him, trying to bring him back to health. But, I fear he had too much internal damage. As I gently held him on my lap swinging in the back yard he had a seizure, scared me so that I tossed him. I felt so bad, I held him close to me again crying as he passed into the next world.
You may have noticed we are not particularly scared of rabies. Rabies is one of those rampant fears that is actually quite rare in reality. No one seems to be scared of dogs and cats or people. They could all be carriers!
A few months back Shyanne brought to the shop a squirrel that she had rescued from the street. We didn’t think he would live the night. His held was tilted to one side and he made slow circles when he tried to walk. We thought it was spinal, but began to believe it was neurological. Every day without fail, the squirrel allowed Shyanne to give him his medicine. We make very good animal medicines, and he received his twice daily doses of Arthritis and Anti-Parasite. He took to us rather well, particularly Shyanne. She could be seen out on her smoke break in the back with a squirrel playing at her feet. Every day he wandered further and further, she would just call him and he came prancing back to her, gaining strength each day.
Soon he was well and we knew it was time to release him as he looked at us as captors instead of friends. Shyanne drove him to a nearby state park and released him. She sat on a rock watching as he climbed a tree, came back to her, climbed a tree, fell out, climbed a tree, looked at her with thanks, and was gone. Through tears she made her way back to her car.
Healing animals is one of our favorite aspects of our work. We are glad that we did not raise our children to fear animals. We adore these creatures that share the earth with us and they have made our lives so much lovelier, even the wild ones.
On our new homestead here, there are two rather fat squirrels that have been working very hard, despite the black birds, to build a nest in a hole in the tree outside our kitchen window. We leave them bits of toast and greet them. Perhaps we will have some young ones scampering around the yard and house. I better get a bigger bowl.