08 November 2007

The guest


Here's the thing, if I see the body of an animal that's been hit by a car in the street, I will stop (if I'm not endangering myself or others) and move the body to the side of the road because I think it's barbaric and obscene to leave the remnants of a living thing to be unceremoniously run over again and again as if it's of absolutely no consequence. So... driving home from an errand, I came upon a squirrel in the middle of a side street. When I stopped to move it, I discovered that it was still alive but stunned and limping. There happened to be two large dogs barking and making tracks for us so I put the squirrel in the back seat, drove it home, put it in one of the cat carriers and called the only wildlife rehabilitator in the region who talked me through the basics. A local vet took a look at the injured limb. Between the three of us, the solution seemed to be to let the squirrel rest up and see what might happen.

He (she?) stayed in the guest room for about ten days, rested and ate apples, peanut butter, and some sort of rodent protein pellets. We were both a little frightened of each other. It was a challenge to clean the cage but I used thick work gloves. I did not name him or have even a fleeting thought of keeping him. At a certain point, I took him outside to see his reaction. He immediately directed every shred of energy to getting out of the carrier. So, I popped him back into the car, drove to where I'd originally found him and opened the carrier. Something to tell his grandsquirrels about.

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