We were out for our Saturday morning family walk around the Capitol complex when Takk was distracted by something. We tried to keep walking, brushing it off as his usual weirdness, but then realized that he was in fact looking at a little furry critter.
It turns out that it was a young squirrel, not a tiny baby, but not fully grown, that had fallen from a tree onto the sidewalk. We hoped that the squirrel was just startled by the fall and by Takk’s antics and would climb back up if we left it alone. We continued walking, planning to check in when we got back to that spot.
Honestly, I spent the next mile making plans for my new life with a pet squirrel. As you do.
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Phil’s vet tech skills and the wonderful vets at the clinic would fix the little squirrel up. Obviously, Fry would cuddle the little squirrel, and it could snuggle up in all my scarves, and Takk would try to play with it. I was completely prepared to be the crazy squirrel lady.
As we reached the spot again on our walk, we couldn’t see the little squirrel and assumed that all had worked out for the best. But as I crossed the street to be sure, I found that it was there on the sidewalk, still breathing, but not well. We made a few attempts to reach a local Fish, Wildlife, and Parks rehab center, but weren’t successful. Of course, the odds of them making a trip for a little squirrel were slim.
As a magpie hopped over and pecked at the little squirrel’s tail, we knew that the kindest option would be taking it to the vet to be euthanized. We found a box in my car and gently slid the squirrel into it. It squeaked in pain and fear as I tried to ease it all the way in. Both back legs appeared to be broken. Another squirrel chattered at us from a nearby tree.
I closed the box and walked towards the car… and started crying. I wish I could have explained to the other squirrel where we were taking this one, probably her baby. I wish I could have told the little squirrel not to be scared.
We took the squirrel to the vet clinic where Phil works, and the doctor working today took a look and agreed that it was best to put it to sleep.
My heart hurts. I know it’s just a little squirrel. I know that this is how nature works. But for a minute, I had a dream of a perfect world where every little furry creature gets to live a wonderful, happy life… and maybe we all get to, too.
Rest in peace, little squirrel. You were loved, ever so briefly, and hopefully made your exit quickly and without much pain. I guess that’s all we can really ask for.
Wishing life was fair,