A Squirrelly Sunday

I was catching up on my reading around noon when Mrs. M came in, holding her hands in front of her, one atop the other, like an oyster’s shell. But she wasn’t carrying a pearl.

What she had was a baby squirrel, which she had found at the base of a tree in our back yard. The Hound of the Basketballs had stood over the little varmint, but didn’t appear to have harmed it. So Mrs. M picked it up and brought it in.

“You know it isn’t gonna make it,” I said.

“Yeah, but I couldn’t just leave it there.”

“Well, I guess we’d better wrap it up in something. Keep it warm.” So Mrs. M found a dish towel and a washcloth, wrapped the squirrel up, and put it in a plastic container we usually use for leftovers. Then she phoned a friend of hers, who told us about a wildlife rescue center in Real City. Five minutes later, I was providing ambulance service for the swaddled squirrel and heading for the Interstate. The Spawn was downcast. “It’ll probably die, won’t it?” she asked.

“Well, everything does eventually,” I said, “But maybe not just yet.”

The Spawn and Mrs. M said goodbye to the squirrel, and I suggested they try for “Good luck” instead. “Don’t crank the A/C,” Mrs. M told me as I left. So I didn’t, and I was sweating like Michael Jackson at a Cub Scout meeting by the time I got to the center, some 35 minutes later.

I walked in, noticing an aquarium on my right as I approached the check-in window. A turtle swam inside the tank. A nice middle-aged woman in scrubs walked up to the window and asked me what I needed. “It’s a baby squirrel,” I said, handing her the container, wrappings, and critter. She unwrapped it. It lay very still. “It had a heartbeat when I left the house,” I said.

A voice from another room called “What do you have?”

The middle-aged lady shook her head a little, and said, “It used to –“, and then she said, “No, it’s still here,” and I let go of the breath I had caught without realizing it. She took the squirrel to a side room, and I filled out an “admission form” for the animal. Type of animal: Squirrel. Where found: At base of tree. When found: 60-90 minutes ago. Have you fed it? No. And at the bottom: “Our patients don’t have health insurance, so donations are always welcome.” I saw a sign near the turtle tank, listing the costs to rehabilitate various animals. At the top of the list, it said, “Squirrels (fox, gray, flying): $35.” Again, it said donations, either cash or supplies, were welcome. I checked my wallet. Eighteen bucks.

The triage lady came back, and said, “It’s a girl, about three weeks old. We’ll have to give her fluids, because I don’t think she’s strong enough to suck out of a syringe. But we never give up on an animal, and she’s got a chance.”

“Well,” I said, “We’ll just assume that everything will go well and that she’ll be rehabilitated successfully.” The lady smiled, and I said, “Given that assumption, there won’t be any need to tell us how things ultimately worked out. We’ll just maintain the assumption. And by the way,” I said, handing her the eighteen dollars, “Here’s half a squirrel.”

“Do you want a receipt?”

I shook my head. She thanked me for the money — I told her it was all I happened to be carrying. I wished her and the squirrel good luck, and as I turned to go, the woman said, “Thanks for bringing her in here, and for the donation.”

I shrugged. “What else would I do? And thank you for what y’all do.” And she smiled, and I smiled, and went back to my car, and headed back to Mondoville, and that was our Sunday afternoon.

About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
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4 Responses to A Squirrelly Sunday

  1. Jerome says:

    A couple Weeks or so ago I notice the cat had something cornered behind a basket of clothes in the upstairs hall. I moved the basket to find it was full-grown chipmunk! A brief chase ensued until finally I was able to snare it in a bath towell and repatriate it the back yard. I kept thinking, “Don’t take your eye off it! That thing will set up shop!”

  2. Mrs. Mondo says:

    Thank you for doing that:)

  3. kpk says:

    Pal o’ mine went on a similar sojourn with a tiny bluebird in Austin TX. Bird made it. Happiness abounded.

  4. Pingback: The Cutest Little Apex Predator | Professor Mondo

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