One day, in February or March of
last year, 1998 (sorry, senior moment there) my daughters, who had been playing outside, came into the house and got me to go look at a weird squirrel they had found. They were kind of freaked, because it wasn't acting right. Namely, it wasn't running away and it was walking around on the ground kind of aimlessly, like it was confused and it was making weird noises. I was afraid that it had rabies, so I went to go look at it. Sure enough, it was acting weird all right. Well at first I thought to kill it and take it to a vet to be checked for rabies so I went looking for something with which to do the job.
I got out a push broom and started to take the handle off to use that. While I was kneeling down on the patio to disassemble the broom, the squirrel came over to me and curled itself up against my leg. At that point, I wasn't so sure about what was wrong, nor was I as inclined to dispatch it. I yelled into the house at the wife so that she could come out and I could get her opinion on the matter. Crystal came out and looked at it and pointed out that the thing was awfully small -- probably a baby and too young to be out of the nest, really, which was probably why it wasn't afraid of us and was acting weird and confused. It was her opinion that the squirrel was too young to be away from its mother, possibly not weaned, and had curled up against me to get warm. It was early Spring and kind of chilly out. Well, that did it for me. I'm not ashamed to admit to being a sucker for small furry critters. I tried picking it up, and it let me and it didn't bite.
We took it into the house, and Crystal did some phoning and/or some online research and found out what baby squirrels eat. She went out and got it a small animal baby bottle and some formula to mix up for it, and started bottle feeding it. It was amazing how fast that squirrel took to the bottle. Crystal had no trouble getting it to feed. We got it a cage to sleep in, but it didn't really like it in there. No, what it really liked to do was have the freedom to climb up on my wife's arm and sit on her shoulder or on top of her head and play with her hair while she worked on the computer. We named the squirrel Skippy, and he lived with us for somewhere between three to five months, until we figured he was old enough to be out on his own. We kept taking him outside, and putting him on a tree, and he'd explore for awhile, and then want to climb back on my wife. Unfortunately for her, she wore short sleeves and Skippy's claws scratched her and the scratches got infected and gave her a fever, for which she got a shot and a course of antibiotics.
Eventually, after a week or so, he stopped coming back inside, but would come around to get a bowlful of peanut butter and nuts, fruit, seeds, and other stuff that my wife had started mixing up for him when she figured he was old enough to be weaned. Some weeks later than that, he wouldn't come for that anymore and apparently found himself a girlfriend -- the lucky rodent. Here's what the little booger looked like: