The Journey of a Little Squirrel

Good morning and what a day. The weather is fine and so is my spirit as I begin another day in the journey of my life. I actually slept last night. All night! This never seems to happen much these days so when it does, it’s a gift. Well, I certainly see it as such. Insomnia is such a pain. It renders one fairly useless or at least you feel that way the following day.

Our little friend, Dexter the squirrel, is doing very well. We wanted to release him back into the wild this week but now we are second guessing ourselves. I wish so much that we had the answer we need, but that one only God knows. Will he make it in the wild? Out biggest concern is simply that he is fearless. He shows no fear of other animals that would be his natural predators. He really is no problem. He loves to run around and climb on us and my bed. Its a jungle gym for him. My hand is his wrestling pal. He’s very gentle when we play and he does somersaults over my hand as I try to tickle his belly. I wish I knew the answer. I wish i knew about releasing him at this point. He is a sweetie. A love I never thought possible.

We have rehabbed rabbits many times and had no problems releasing them. Squirrels are so different. They take much more time and energy to raise. This makes it harder to let go for sure, but if I thought he would be okay, he would be released today. Physically, he’s ready but could benefit from more calcium supplements still after his near death diagnosis of MBD.  Oh what to do. I know people have had pet squirrels before, but that was never our intention.  Time will tell, I suppose. I have him sitting on my shoulder after he finished playing and eating his breakfast as I write this.  Dexter is a happy, fairly healthy squirrel now.  I just would never forgive myself if we released him and he was eaten by another animal because he trusted it to be his friend.

Dexter is A-Growing

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Squirrels are curious little creatures. They are smart, enthusiastic and extremely energetic! They love to explore their new surroundings and they like to eat, but are particular about what they eat.

We have been blessed to be given the opportunity to rehab Dexter. He’s a red ground squirrel who entered our lives several weeks ago with his sickly brother, Felix. Unfortunately, Felix didn’t make it but Dexter is thriving!

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There is a disease called Metabolic Bone Disease which affected both babies probably caused by their mama being sick and not able to produce enough milk for them. Mama was killed which is how these precious babies came to be in our care. MBD is a severe lack of calcium which is a very painful disease which will cause weakness, lethargy, decreased appetite, paralysis, seizures and eventually death if not treated immediately. Dexter was lucky. Felix, well, we weren’t able to save him.

Dexter was dragging his front paws and whimpering when the disease became very apparent. He had been fine the night before, climbing in his cage and all. Within a few days of calcium treatments, he was no longer in pain and had control of his muscles again but was still lethargic. The treatment continued.

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Eventually, he recovered from this awful disease but continues with treatment. We have to make certain his diet is high in calcium and he still is taking his formula. Just when I think he will wean, he wants his syringe of formula. Yes, there is special squirrel formula. He loves bananas for a very special treat. Knowing the importance of the balance of calcium and potassium for proper muscle control, I.e. your heart, I don’t mind giving him a little bit every once in a while. He also loves spinach, avocado,  walnuts, grass, wood, dandelion leaves and other dark leafy greens.

We hope to release our little friend in the coming weeks back into nature where he belongs. It will hard to say goodbye to him, but his place is there, not stuck in a cage. I hope he lives in our backyard and lives a long life. Squirrel babies are the best but also are the most needy of all the wild babies. We love our little guy and hope soon he will be happy in our big tree out back.