Back in 2004, on a mid-summer day, I met Joey. Here's his story.
That day I was cooking with the window open when I kept hearing what sounded like a shriek. I didn't take much notice of it at first because it just fell into the background noise of the many birds out singing in the summer sunshine. But, after a bit, I realized, "hey, that's not like any bird I've ever heard. I wonder what it is?".
So, I wiped off my hands, put on my flip-flops and went out craning upwards to see if I could find the bird that made this wierd shriek. I kept listenign for the shriek and trying to use the sound to locate it, and thus ended up on the neighnbor's lawn, looking up at their huge evergreen tree. Could not see any special bird.
Then, "Shriek!". I heard it nearly at my feet. I looked down and saw a tiny baby squirrel splayed out at my feet, helpless and in terror of the cat that was watching it from the bushes. I called out to my son to bring a towel and used that to pick up the baby (I threw the towel over it and wrapped it around the baby to keep it from biting me). It shrieked and shrieked.
I put it on the tree trunk bark, hoping it would climb back up to its' nest, but it froze, clining to the bark. I do not think it was able to climb yet.
So, I decided I would take it in. I just did not see how I could leave it there safely for the parents to come and get without the cat getting it first (neighbor's cat).
Brought it home and put it in an old cage we had left over from the days we kept rats as pets. I made a bed for it of towels and covered the cage to limit it's stimullae.
I found an old medicine dropper and put some powdered milk formula (from the vet back when I had a very tiny sick kitten). Used gloves to gently grab the baby (he went bererk the first few times I reached into the cage to get him out, but soon he was calm enought to just climb onto my arm when I put it into the cage).
I offered him the dropper and once he figured out what to do, he greedily gobbled down the mild, puling and chewing so hard on the plastic dropper that his teeth chewed up the tip a lot. His cute little "hands" held the dropper just like a human tot holds his own bottle, upending it and glug, glug away!
I also found that he liked peanut butter and avocado. He loved the avocado so much that he'd just squish it and knead it with his paws in absolute ecstasy while eating it. I like avocado almost as much!
Well, he became a family pet and I named him Joey because like a baby Kangaroo, he loved to snuggle up in any kind of "pouch" like thing he could find. I would offer him my sleeve hanging down from my wrist and he'd climb in, curl up and fall asleep, haning in my sleeve, while I did dishes or whatever I did as a home mom.
We put a hammock in his cage, like the kind ferrets have , and he just loved it. He loved to be curled into a ball and held upside down in your palm. If you scratched his tummy he would lift up his little "arm" to offer his "armpit" , so saying "oh yes! Scratch me here!" and would turn his head to the side . If you tucked his tail up and over his face and rolled him into a tight ball, he'd go to sleep like tucking a chicken's head under its' own wing.
As he grew up, we let him run around the house more and more, but he started to become a real nuisance; jumping up on the counters and getting into food. And squirrels are not "clean", so I didn't want him around the food.
We put a bell on him so that we could hear where he was. He even started going outside during the day and as evening approached, I would go out and call him and he'd come back.
But, one day, he didn't come back when called.
Until the next mornging. He came sneaking in the open window and went for avocados on the counter. That's what woke us up.
Then, he was gone two days, and well, you can guess the rest.
The only thing is that I didnt' get the red collar and bell off of him.
So, if you hear a sweet little tinkering bell out in the trees and see a lovely gray squirrel with a red collar, you'll let me know, wont' you? Because I have always wondereed , . . . "whatever happended to Joey?"