Friday, October 23, 2009

The Squirrel Saga

Thursday the 22nd, I trekked on foot from Readville Commuter Rail Station from West Milton Street, Hyde Park to Milton Street in Dedham to a vet who handles rehabbing squirrels.

Maybe I should back up a little.

I live with people who have a soft spot for animals. But I get the tough jobs like catching bats, wolf spiders, and house centipedes and taking them outside. Fieldmice are cute and all but not in my home.

So my brother, the Lemurian, calls me on my cellphone last Friday to announce he's coming back with a squirrel in a box. We have already had my sister spring a wounded pigeon upon us a couple a of weeks ago. The Animal Rescue League kindly took the pigeon off our hands although there wasn't a happy ending to that story.

This is a household of five cats, none of which are mine, although all the cats seem to love me. I interpret cat pretty well except if I am dealing with a sealpoint Siamese. My best animal language is reptile though. Water dragons, Tegus, and Nile monitors...well we have this thing.... Cats and reptiles don't mix however so I live without my scaly spirit animals.

Once the squirrel arrives at the house, my brother sets it up in the larger of two kitty carriers. It has banana chips and sunflower seeds from a friend of his who was the first to discover the human dependent squirrel. This little guy will sit on just about anyone's shoulder, eat nuts, and poop. It will hold up its hands to be picked up if you set it on the ground just like any human kid. Totally, unsquirrel-like. This is worrisome.

I am slightly impressed because the squirrel is young enough to lay claim to human kryptonite. That it is has big, black, beady eyes. It runs to the cage door to investigate if you speak to it and then it burrows happily in all the shredded toilet paper atop the newspaper and goes to sleep.

My brother calls the Animal Rescue League to report the squirrel needs intervention. It has no fear of humans. It tries to sneak into human-inhabited buildings where there's warmth and food. My sister worries that the squirrel will die a premature death if it's just released without any intervention. Not everyone will take pity on a wild animal.

The squirrel spent the weekend. Meanwhile, we were trying to get someone from the Animal Rescue League to take the squirrel. ARL took the pigeon and they are listed as Wildlife Rehabilator when I searched Google.™ It's a little harder to get this to happen with the squirrel. I let my brother call ARL and he gets some information about a Wildlife Rehabilitator in Weymouth. We can't get to Weymouth w/out a car. No dice.We learn ARL aren't rehabbers themselves. The Animal Rescue League will transport the squirrel to a Rehabber's though. There's a lot of demand for their services so they aren't sure when it will happen.

Meanwhile, The squirrel spends the weekend with us. It amuses itself by overturning its water tray and soaking the newspaper. The cats are trying to sneak into my brother's bedroom so they can check out the intruder. One cat is declawed so he's not as much of threat but the others are. The squirrel gets to run around in the bathroom while my brother cleans the cage. I have no idea how to sex a squirrel although my brother thinks that it's a girl because of the visible teat. My sister has no opinion. That time of the month arrives and I get irritated by the whole affair.

Monday comes and we haven't lined up a place we can get the squirrel to. Naturally, the squirrel is bored with it's spacious quarters. The bathroom is the one room where anyone has a hope of catching it and putting it back into the kitty carrier. It also has lockable door to keep the cats from joining in the fun. I am crankier and crankier. My brother is bonding with the squirrel and taking pictures. My sister is concerned that the squirrel gets the help it needs.

Now I have to call ARL. I email too just to cover all the bases. I am PMS-ing something horrible. A very patient female receptionist at the Boston office advises me that there's a Wildlife Rehabber in Dedham that ARL uses. Hallelujah! I can get to Dedham. I call the spot and I'm told I can bring the squirrel tomorrow when the vet is there. After a friendly discussion with the ARL Dedham, I decide we can keep the squirrel another night rather than impose upon Dispatch.

So Thursday, me and squirrel board and Route 32 bus and head onto our adventure. I have transferred our guest to the smaller kitty carrier and provided a farewell snack of almonds and cashews.

I am STILL cranky.

The squirrel does not say thank you or goodbye.

I sign surrender papers.

The vet comes out and explains the process of rehabbing where the squirrel gets to live outside where there are other squirrels running around free and get re-acclimated to behaving like a squirrel again. We are free to call in a week to check the squirrel's progress. My brother and sister can make the call. I am done.

I trudge back down Milton street with an empty kitty carrier, a lighter heart, and a lone hawk circles overhead. That's gotta be a sign the Universe is pleased with me. I did the right thing.


Her Tangh-i-ness

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