Probably mentioned it before but no, I don't have a cellphone. When I leave the house I don't wanna be bothered. My answering machine works just fine,thank you. They had a story about cellphone services on yahoo a couple of weeks ago and I made a comment about not having one and,of course,some jerko had to reply.."Well...what are you gonna do if your car breaks down one day?" And I replied back..."Well...cars have been breaking down since they were invented...what do you think people did in the "old days"???? Yeesh!! My comments always seem to get a lot of thumbs down,lol. But I don't care.
A couple of days ago my aunt and I were taking our usual night time walk and when we got to the corner of my block we slowed down because we saw something ahead on the sidewalk. Approaching it, we saw that it was a squirrel. It looked like a dead squirrel but then we saw it move. Obviously,it was injured. We didn't see any blood but it was just kind of on its haunches and shaking. It started to like,keel over,then would right itself. Everytime a car drove by you could tell the sound scared him and he scooted around.
Well,need I say it? My heart broke right then and there. Poor little thing suffering. It looked like it was going to die any minute.
What do you do? You can't pick it up and cuddle it...it is a wild animal,after all. You can't exactly take it to the vet at 8:30 in the evening or even to an emergency vet since most (if not all) do not tend to wildlife. Here it was getting dark and this poor little guy looked like he was headed for that big squirrel kingdom in the sky. As we continued on I started praying to God to end his suffering SOON.
I knew from experience it is difficult to get help for wild animals in the city here of Sacramento. We're in the middle of 2 rivers and the small mammals like skunks and raccoons and possums make there way into the city and your backyard especially if they're doing any work on the levees.I've rented a few traps in my day from the feed store to catch possoms that were in my front yard. Then take them to the river. If you call the city for a trap they charge you and then just kill the animals.
About 4 years ago the "toilet squirrel" incident occured. My mother calls me on the phone..."You're not going to believe this. I started hearing this squeaking coming from the bathroom and there's a squirrel in my toilet!!"
So I rushed over,lifted the lid and looked in there.Yep...it was a squirrel. This was on a Saturday evening...GOOD LUCK getting any help. He couldn't get out because the toilet was too deep. But first of all where the heck did he come from?
Poor thing had to stay in there through the morning. I got on the horn...callled the city. NOPE...can't send anyone out. No funds in the budget for that kind of service. Called 3 or 4 other numbers they gave me and FINALLY got ahold of a guy who's specialty was dealing with wildlife. He lived about an hour or two away and it was about 4 hours before he got here and by then the poor little soul was dead. I still can't get that out of my head and it still makes me cry to this day. The guy looked around the bathroom and found a hole underneath the cupboard where he had crawled in. He had actually crawled through the wall and was probably so thirsty he went for water then...bloop! May God have mercy on his little soul...just such a tragic thing. Well,the guy plugged up the hole with some kind of special goop then left with $200 of my money and the sad little squirrel in a plastic bag.
This brings me back to THIS squirrel incident. (What is it with me and squirrels??) And about getting help for this little guy.
I left my aunt's house after our walk and drove by the squirrel again just to check on him on the way home. There he was....didn't see any movement at first....but then I saw him twitch. My heart just clenched and I drove on home and bawled my eyes out pleading for his suffering to end. (Is that a bad thing? Of course we don't wish for anything to die but the state that squirrel was in..there wasn't any life left to pray for,I felt)
Needless to say, I didn't sleep very well. Woke several times with a heavy heart just hoping and praying that God have mercy on him.
The street he was on is not a main street but it is HEAVILY travelled by people walking and exercising. I can't count how many people passed us by jogging,bikeriding,walking their dogs while my aunt and I first saw the squirrel. They all looked then looked away. It was pathetic,really. I wanted to yell at them...WHERE's your cellphones now,you jerks??? A small creature is sitting here writhing in pain and you dare look away? You dare to not call or TRY to call someone for help??? (Not that there was anyone to call really since at that time of night everything's closed anyway) But STILL.
First thing in the morning I was planning to go around the block and check on him. Thought for sure a cat would get him or a dog since he was just plopped right there on the corner in the middle of the sidewalk.
My aunt called me first thing in the morning and said,"I have some news. I just went to the post office and passed by the squirrel and it is STILL MOVING."
My heart sunk. Surely this little guy couldn't have made it through the night. My prayers weren't answered. Where was God? Did He not hear me?
Maybe He did. Maybe He was about to teach me a lesson or something. I grabbed some unsalted almonds before walking around the corner because maybe the squirrel was hungry.
There he was....still shaking. Still leaning over. I tossed an almond at him but he showed no interest. Now my mission was to save this little guy. I felt so bad for wishing him dead. Now I wanted him to live with every beat of my heart.
I ran home and got on the phone. My land phone! I called our community information line and they gave me some numbers of places that dealt with Wildlife. 2 didn't answer but one had a recorded message. There was a place I could actually take him...they gave all the instructions. Put it in a box...poke holes in it. I googled where the heck this place was....out in the boonies. I didn't care if it was in TIMBUCKTOOO. There was actually a place that could help him! Why wasn't I informed about this before? Why this...why that? Forget all that now!! Go get the squirrel!!!
I ran over to my cousin's house and said...come help me save a squirrel. He grabbed a shovel and I grabbed my laundry basket on wheels (the basket I used to bring BusterBrat to the vet in :) It makes a nifty animal carrying case. Plus is had a nice cushy flannel sheet in it.
We drove around the corner and my cousin used the shovel to guide him into the basket. The squirrel had a little more life now, it seemed. It took us quite a few minutes...everytime the shovel touched him he'd jump. But that was a good thing!! Then the sprinklers turned on at the house on the corner and the squirrel was getting on the grass and was completely soaked by the time we got him in the basket and slammed the lid down. He looked like a little drowned rat but at least he was safe in the basket and away from anything else that could hurt him. More people were going by and watching us but no one said a thing. I didn't pay much attention because we were on a mission now.
For the first time in hours I felt a little better. He was protected in the basket...he was out of harms way. I put him in the backseat... we jumped in the car and got on the freeway. Had just taken a glance at the directions to this wildlife association so wasn't sure exactly where we were going but, I tell you, God was driving that car yesterday...my hands were just the tool. We got lost a couple of times but somehow, about 30 minutes later we arrived at the Wildlife Care Association. I ran in, filled out a paper with my name and wheeled him in. I stared in the basket hoping that we werent' too late and his little wet head was up and he kinda looked back at me before the lady wheeled him away.I can't describe how HAPPY I was to see this little life still hanging on!
I asked if I would be able to find out what happens and she said probably not since they recieve around 6,000 wildlife animals a year. It's hard for them to keep track of all the smaller animals. They rehab them and send them back out in the wild. And get this...it didn't cost me a thing!! WHAT!!!! I was ready to sign my house over to these wonderful people who do this!! They are all volunteers...vets...specialists...etc. I can't believe a place like this exists!!
So now I'm going to make a donation...how can I not? They were the only ones who could help and hopefully I can spread the word out more around my city that this great santuary exists for these little creatures. And I'm going to call them in a couple of days to see if there's the slightest chance I can find out about his fate.
I feel relieved that he didn't wind up as a cat's lunch or didn't burn to death on the sidewalk (it was going to be pretty warm that day...luckily our evenings and mornings are cool) then get kicked in the gutter. Sweet little thing...I sure hope I can find out what happened.
Guess the lesson in all this is...NEVER GIVE UP HOPE NO MATTER HOW DOUR THE SITUATION. I admit...I gave up hope but God didn't let me. He sent a helpless squirrel to teach me that,"The Sidewalk Kid" we named him.
And it's a lesson I'll never forget.
It also taught me something about people. I admit I was so angry watching their averted eyes at something that was obviously in pain......but maybe they were as scared as the squirrel...about getting involved...about not knowing what to do.
I didn't know either but all I had to do was pick up a phone.