|Saved from a life on the streets, Chip and Dale now enjoy|
a warm nest and plenty of fresh peanuts.
At the same time, my niece was in the hospital. We had received another call that they were keeping her at least another day because they didn't know what was wrong with her exactly.
After work that day my mom went to the hospital to visit my niece. In the parking lot, she turned up a row she doesn't normally travel, but she said she felt compelled to do so.
She found an empty spot, parked, and started up the sidewalk. A man was standing there, looking at this mound of something, with two tiny mouse-like creatures wiggling about blindly.
She asked the man what the mound was.
"A dead mama squirrel. I reckon' those two other things are her babies." He kicked at them.
"What is going to happen to them?"
"Aww. Nature has a way of taking care of things like this. They'll be dead 'fore mornin'. Somethin' will eat 'em."
My mom, a lover of most living creatures* couldn't stand the thought of letting the helpless baby squirrels be left to their own devices. Their eyes weren't even open yet. She found a small box in her truck, gathered them up, and took them home.
At the advice of the man at the Co-Op and Google, she bought the appropriate milk and a syringe and began to feed them. She woke every three hours and made sure they ate, were warm, and made a poo.
Given the prognosis of my grandfather (her father), my mom said she felt like the squirrels were a gift. There was a reason why she felt compelled to drive down that particular row in the hospital parking lot. The squirrels gave her a reason to keep her mind of Grandfather.
Today, the squirrels are two happy, scampering bundles of cuteness. They reside in a very large bird cage with Hilton-like accommodations.
It is uncertain whether she will keep the squirrels in captivity forever. The man at the Co-Op said that once you take in squirrels, you have to keep them - other research has said that the squirrels' natural instinct will tell them what to do.
As for my grandfather, after a biopsy in which the ENT took out much of the mass to open the windpipe and free the vocal cords, the oncologist can not see any cancer. He has not been deemed cancer-free yet; and it is only stage 1. He is undergoing radiation.
My niece is as sassy as ever. She had contracted a nasty bacterial infection in her bladder and kidneys
from a bad bout of diarrhea. She is right as rain now.
Updated: In a bit of irony, while my mother is typically a lover of all creatures with special exception given to spiders, snakes, and anything in the rat family, she told the indoor cat daily that she would kill it if it got the squirrels. That cat was relocated to a no-kill shelter yesterday. (The cat was my grandmother's. She passed last October, and my dad brought her home. My mother was less than enthused.)
Oh, and the irony that squirrels are in the rodentia family (as are rats) was not lost on me. I just didn't mention that piece of information.
In other non-related news, I have another guest post up at the Parentella blog today in honor of Earth Day.
I'd love it if you'd read it, tweet it, comment, post on facebook, whatever you'd like. Let's work together to get rid of plastic!
My post: Teaching Kids about Earth Day