The dusk was falling, the night air mild as it streamed in the window here in my kitchen nook, binging on a new-fangled Holmes, a modern living in New York City Holmes, with a Dr. Watson not at all like any of the others that had come before.
Elementary, and so I was feasting on Season One, and very much not paying attention to the sounds through the window, which to my ear sounding like a bird, but I was wrong. Holmes or Watson may have deduced the difference right away, but I did not, too wrapped up in deducing the reducers deductions.
Now, let’s be fair, I was not paying attention, as I LOVE, and I mean LOVE this new version of an old character, with Holmes addictions taking centre stage, and Watson female, and what with his agile mind and sleuthing the streets of the Big Apple opposed to ones across the pond, and I just love a good murder mystery.
What at first had sounded like bird call became more, em, urgent sounding, and I began to wonder, and so made my way to the door to check on what was the matter, and there stood Irish staring back at me, and as I opened the door I realized the noises I had been ignoring were coming from the living little being she had in her mouth. I saw a look I had not seen in some time, those worrying eyes, and I realized the sounds I had heard were from this little being in her mouth that rather objected to being clutched in the jaws of this monster.
Ah, yes, and what it was, what Irish had found, what exactly she had retrieved, now that was not immediately clear, as I squatted in the dirt beside the house where she had dropped it. After I had let her in, gazing down I realized it was a blind baby thing flailing in the dirt before me, as I tried to see if it was hurt, and trying to discern what sort of small mammal it was, as my deduction skills had brought me that far, it was mammal.
Well, at some point I decided that question could be answered later, as the more immediate one was what on earth was I going to do with it?
Baby animals are fragile things, and even though my heart was moved to bring it in and try to save it, in the end it is not always the humane answer as leaving it for its mother to find and bring back to the nest is always possible. So, with that in mind I brought it away from the area where Irish can go, and in a tea towel and old rug I had meant to throw away long ago, I made it a bit of a cave/nest to either be found by its mommy, or, well or… not.
I know that some find that heartless, and I’ve gotten in to arguments before, but wild baby animals, are wild animals, and without proper tools and formula you can, even with good intentions, make the little ones last hours a living hell for them. All manner of mistakes in feeding, and what you feed them, and how much, and delaying the inevitable becomes a sort of good intentioned torture for one so fragile and new.
It was that very dilemma I suppose now that had Irish with it in her mouth, with worried eyes I hadn’t seen since my youth, of a dog whose retrieving instincts only went so far, and what on earth to do with the thing squealing in their mouth?
So I left it in its nest of towel and rug overnight, and with the morning light tentatively went out to see how it had faired. The night had been rainy, and I had positioned everything just underneath the boughs of the cedar hedge under the composter, and so it had been mostly sheltered, but still.
Well, before my eyes was a wee fighter, and so it had lived the night and now, good gawd all mighty, what was I going to do with this little fragile being whose will to live was so strong?
Actually, the next step came to mind easily, as I had just the fighter filled with such a spirit as this little one before me.
A friends’ daughter, 18 years old, who he had not seen in years, taken from his care when she was 3, and given to her alcoholic and drug addicted mother by the courts who believed everything she had said to them, and whose cruelty and abuse eventually led to her becoming for the last 6 or so years what in Canada is called a Crown Ward.
I knew their story before I met them from a mutual friend, D3, who had known her father for years, and knows the truth as he and his girlfriend were there at the time, and knows her dad was unfortunately a product of a system that is often slanted towards the mother, and while they all knew what she was, the courts and social workers apparently did not.
Actually, this story of a father who lost his daughter to a monster of a mother was one of the first stories D3 told me, way back before I had met her dad, before I had met her. He told me of this guy he knew who lost his daughter, who had moved closer to his family to care for her, but in the end lost her, and who had sunk so far that it had almost destroyed him, his grief was so profound at the loss of her to the vile creature that is her mother.
So for the sake of privacy I’ll call him Chico as he has two Chihuahuas, and his daughter I’ll call little wolf, who at 18 and given her freedom from the foster home she had lived these last years in Ottawa made her way back to her dad; and so it was her that I called, as her knowledge of animals always completely blows me away.
Little wolf is a wounded baby in many many ways still herself – wounded by the system, and her mothers abusive and vile nature.
After my call it was not long before I heard the knock at the door, and in she came in a flurry, pronouncing it a baby squirrel, and whipping out her phone found what she would need, and so I stood and watched in awe of her, at her complete confidence in her own abilities to save this wee thing nestled up in an old round hat box in a tea towel snuggled up with this heated medicine bag that had been Tim’s nearby.
It was only after she had left, and I was letting out the dog when I looked down at the step and saw all this matted black short fur on the step, some of it attached to this tiny Black Walnut branch, probably part of a nest, and realized that the baby had fallen out, perhaps while its mother was away; and up in the sky I spied one of the Red-tailed hawks that frequent the village circling just off in the distance, and it was that I put two and two together.
Yet regardless of how the wee babe came to be, there was a certain synergy, as little Wolf told me a man she thought of as her second dad had died the day before, and I could see the sadness in her eyes replaced with a determination, and she saw right away the gift the little creature had given her, as a way to move through her grief. She even thought maybe her 2nd dad had had a hand in it all, as when she had known him was back on the reserve when her and her mom lived there with him. Into the woods, long walks together, her and him, and while she was there her mothers cruelty was more at bay, more tempered. But it was not to last, as I guess women such as her mother can not handle the stability of a righteous man for long.
So I told her how my own mom had nursed 4 or 5 baby squirrels to adulthood, and so I knew it was possible, unless the wee gaffer was more insured than he looked, it did have a chance.
And, I do wonder if the spirits that be, that are all around us, they allow for our kin who have passed over to, I don’t know, throw baby squirrels our way just when we need a baby squirrel.
Funny, really, that given Irish’s proclivity for chasing them that she was the rescuer, for how else would I have even known of it?
So little Wolf has an old friends birthday to go today and overnight, and so I and the wee one will be reacquainted, to take up his rigid 2 hour feeding schedule.
I will keep you abreast of his progress.
I know I shouldn’t, I know, but I really do have every hope he can make it, that he is in excellent hands, with that fighter spirit they have in common. Ah, but heartbreak, what is that to this beautiful gift his little soul has given her already, of her powerful heart, the knowledge, and maybe the path she could take in this life that is finally now all her own.
Anywho, her and her dad are on the hunt for a place together, a two-bedroom, as the shanty of a bachelor he now has is not at all, and may I emphasized AT ALL suitable for them, as she refuses to live with her horrible mother after trying it out for the first bit. I do wonder though how the new landlord will take to a pet squirrel, as she is absolutely stubbornly convinced she can keep it, but I guess we shall see.
Yes, somethings just drop out of the trees, and with them we may learn many lessons, hard ones, soft ones, and sometimes they can help us find the mother within. How to be the mother that will not let us down, but raise us up, care for us. That last gift, the last lesson from her 2nd dad, if we see it little Wolf’s way, to find her true spirit, her naturally caring spirit, her way with animals, and that is precious beyond words, and just when she needed it most.