Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Last week my mother called to tell me that she and my stepfather were going to raise a two week old squirrel. You can imagine my surprise when I heard this. Yes, it's true both my mom and step dad are crazy about the wildlife that lives around their house. The animals are so used to being fed by them that it's not unusual for squirrels in particular to venture up onto their porch and take and eat peanuts from their hands.
My stepfather found this baby squirrel on the ground, abandoned last week. Apparently, the momma squirrel either kicked the baby out of it's nest or my mother said (hopes) that high winds somehow blew it out of it's nest onto the ground. When my stepfather spotted it, he immediately wrapped it up in a warm towel and took it to the local vet. The vet told him it looked to be around two weeks old and gave him instructions on what to do to feed and take care of it until it was at least 12 weeks old. The vet admitted that he didn't know a lot about squirrels, and he couldn't tell my stepfather if it suffered from any internal injuries or anything like that. He suggested that my mother and stepfather take care of it and then recommended for the squirrel to be released when it was old enough to take care of itself, because apparently squirrels DO NOT make good pets.
So, he brought the baby squirrel home, went to the local pet store and bought a lot of supplies and they started taking care of the newest family member of their household. Since my sister was working, my mother was also watching my niece, Snow White, and when four year old took one look at the baby squirrel she decided right then that she would be the official adoptive mother of the sweet little thing. She of course wanted to call it 'princess' but after a close examination, they decided since it was a boy they should call it Lucky instead.
For two days, my mother and niece did everything they were told to do to take care of the baby squirrel. Lucky was fed, taken care of and loved. My niece even cried when she had to go home. But, since she knew Lucky would still be there when she returned in a few days, she eventually went on home without much fuss.
I knew something was wrong when I got the first text message from my mother at midnight on Friday:
Little Lucky isn't going to make it....I think he is dieing. He's not eating and breathing with
a gasp. I hate it but I did everything I could for him. If he lives the next hour I'll be surprised.
Then fifteen minutes later she texts:
Poor little Lucky did die. I really hate it. He really didn't have much of a chance. He was a
sweet little squirrel. I wish I could have saved him.
I immediately called her and when she answered, she was crying. She kept blaming herself and was worried how Snow White was going to take it. Now, I don't know about y'all, but when my mother cries, I cry. I don't know why, but it's something that I've always done. So we both cried and I reassured her that they did everything they could for Lucky. In all honesty, Lucky probably had more love in the last 48 hours of his little life than he ever had.
Unfortunately, this was going to be one of those life lessons for my niece. The next day she was told about Lucky's passing and was devastated from the news. When my stepfather heard this, he wrapped Lucky in a hand towel, put him in a shoe box and buried him in the backyard. He then made a small cross and painted the word "Lucky" on it and put it on the grave. I thought this was very sweet. He wanted there to be a place where Snow White could put flowers and visit it should she want too.
Since then, my mother and I have talked several times and just by talking to her I realize that for a couple of days, Lucky brought joy and happiness to my mother, stepfather and a to my niece. It reminds me and my family that life is precious and that every minute of it should be cherished. In the end, I think it was fate that brought Lucky into my family's life and wherever he is, I hope he's happy, carefree and has more peanuts to eat than he can handle.