I was looking out the backdoor Friday morning, enjoying the beautiful spring day and noticed a squirrel, running across the yard with something large and round in its mouth! I called for Rea and we watched as it struggled towards the woods lot. Just as it was nearing the edge of the yard, Nelson noticed it too. He gave chase and about three feet before safety the squirrel dropped the object and that’s when we realized that it was a mother squirrel and she was struggling to carry her baby across the yard!
Pandemonium broke loose because, Nelson, the Shih Zhu, nabbed the first prey of his life and Rea and I began SCREAM!! NOOOO!! NELSON!! NOOOO!! We ran to the back yard, in our PJ’s and barefooted to the baby squirrel’s rescue. By this time, Nelson was so startled by the screaming that he had let the baby go and it was able to run into the underbrush. However, Nelson was quickly back on the trail and was rooting around trying to recapture his loot.
Meanwhile, the poor mother squirrel was hovering on a tree just above, nervously twitching her tail, obviously very distraught over the plight of her baby. The area where the baby and had hidden (and where Nelson was intently snooting her out) is completely overrun with blackberry vines. Remember, Rea and I are both PJ clad and barefoot, so neither of us is anxious to wade in to pull Nelson out; and he refuses our pleas to please, please COME!!
By this time, Syd has noticed the commotion and joins the Search and Rescue and wades into the underbrush. The squirrel is so desperate to rescue her baby now, that she comes down the tree within a foot or so of Syd, she is frantic and worried and will only go back up the tree about four feet or so, she is pitiful. Finally, Syd is able to get her hands on Nelson and pulls him out of the underbrush backwards, the whole time he’s whining and scraping, trying to get back to the baby squirrel.
The moment that we stepped away from the brush pile the mother squirrel came down the tree and the baby emerged from the brush pile UNHARMED! The baby quickly followed her up the tree.
Over the next ten minutes over so the mother squirrel patiently coaxed the baby through the treetops, jumping from one tree to the next. When the baby wouldn’t follow her because the footing was treacherous or the distance too far, mom would find a new path, or would return again and again until the baby’s confidence was enough that she too would jump and follow her.
I’m still wondering what caused her to try cross the yard on foot. What was worth the risk? Had the baby fallen and was she trying to get her to safety? Was it quicker and did she think the coast was clear because it was early morning?
I’ll never know. But what I do know is this, she might have been only a squirrel, but she loved that baby just as surely as I love my girls. And she would have walked through fire to keep her safe.