We all know this. Everything doesn’t start out full grown, fully knowing its purpose in life. Everything starts as a baby something… insects have larva, bears have cubs, foxes have kits, dogs have puppies. But there are many of these that we never see as a baby.
Anybody who gardens knows what caterpillars do to tomatoes, cabbages, squash. Then they become some sort of harmless moth, but their babies do a lot of damage to become that moth.
Puppies and kittens, though they do some things we don’t like- basically gnaw on chair legs or eat an entire slipper, are so darned cute we don’t really mind.
Other baby things we’d rather just not see like spiders or alligators.
But I had never, until a few days ago, seen a baby squirrel.
I’d been hearing great horned owls every night for several nights. It’s a welcome, comforting sound to me. Thursday morning my rescue dog Lily and I were returning from her walk when I saw her nosing around a tuft of something in the front yard so I went over to have a look.
I spotted a tiny pink thing and as I walked closer Lily backed away giving me a full view of it. I thought at first it might be a mole or a vole but they aren’t all pink. I picked it up… a perfect little creature though by now ice-cold. Who knows when it had been knocked out of its nest. I looked up and sure enough there in the pine branches was a large squirrel nest. My guess was one of those owls likely swooped on unwary mom or dad squirrel for a late-night snack and knocked junior out in the process. This little thing’s eyes weren’t even opened.
So we brought it inside. No bigger than my thumb, perfectly formed little head, tiny ears, curled tail, even little nails on its paws. I wrapped it in a soft cloth and cocooned it inside a rolled heating pad.
An hour later I checked, still stone-cold. Well, I couldn’t bring myself to do anything final with the little thing so left it wrapped in the pad while Lily and I went out for our morning errands. Upon returning I checked again. Still cold. Well, we tried.
Sad to think it won’t have an opportunity to taunt and frustrate Lily someday, but I imagine there will be others.