Last night my daughter rescued a baby red squirrel from the jaws of our cat. The cat was caught in the act and fortunately dropped the goods before she ran off. Seeing that the baby was still alive, Emily scooped it up and brought it to me. My first thought was, he'll never make it.
We bundled him up in a pet carrier with a heating pad under it to keep him warm, then went online for info on baby squirrel rehab. If there was ever any doubt, now I know it's true -- there is a website for EVERYTHING. There is actually a site called Squirrel Rehab.org.
The most important thing we learned was that infection from cat bites is common, severe, and fatal to small animals, so if the little guy survived at all, he'd need antibiotics within 24 hours.
I met Patty Farr about a year ago, through our local Freecycle group. I had offered a small animal cage to the group, and Patty contacted me and told me all about her wildlife rescue efforts. This totally piqued my interest, and of course, Emily's as well, and Patty sent us the info to look further into licensing for wildlife rehab. I'm not sure what discouraged me from pursuing it further, but it was probably the expense. Knowing we would have to build cages, buy supplies, pay for the study guides and testing, all kind of put a damper on things. Money can do that.
At any rate, when we cautiously checked on our little patient and found him still breathing this morning, I was thankful to know who to call. Once the kids were off to school, the squirrel and I were off to Patty's house. He was checked over thoroughly, and it seems his main injury is to one back leg, hopefully just a sprain. He'll remain in rehab for a couple of weeks, where he'll be kept warm and fed the proper milk formula, giving him time to heal. Hopefully there's no underlying damage to his spine. In that case, he would have to be put down, but so far, it looks hopeful. If he heals, he'll be brought back to our house for release. (No, the cat will NOT be present!) We'll be hoping and praying for that outcome. It's amazing how attached you can get to a little critter in less than 24 hours...
Of course, this whole experience has rekindled my interest in wildlife rehabilitation. I still don't think it's something I can pursue right at the moment, but is definitely one of those seeds planted for the future. One thing is for certain; in my life, and in my ever-changing, multi-tasking, dream-and-aspiration-filled mind, there is never a dull moment!