Our Northwest

Agent launches 'Operation: baby squirrel'

Friday, April 12, 2013by  PEMCO Insurance

Here's a story from Shelly Barnes, one of our community agents. She works for Greg Gustafson Insurance Agency in Puyallup.

Monday night after work, I was outside playing with my dogs. I went to pick up one of their toys and noticed something very small trying to crawl through the grass. When I got over to it, I realized it was a baby squirrel. His eyes weren’t open and he was making little grunting noises. 

He must have fallen out of one of the trees in our backyard. (I later read that if a squirrel has more than one baby, it is not uncomfeeding baby squirrelmon for the mom squirrel to push a baby out of the nest, after the baby reaches a certain age, because the mom can no longer provide for the baby.).

I picked him up, he was small enough to fit in the palm of my hand, and looked around to see if the mom or any other squirrels were around. Not seeing any, I took him in the house, wrapped him up in a flannel shirt, and just cuddled him to my chest. Once he warmed up, he calmed right down and went to sleep.

I then made several calls to local animal shelters and veterinary clinics to see who might be able to foster him, but the only answers I received were “we can’t help you” and “you might try…”.   After 10 or so calls, I went to the internet and found squirrelrefuge.org. They're located in Vancouver, Wash., and their site is full of wonderful information on how to foster squirrels, determine age, best food solutions, etc. It also provided the names of some refuge and rehabilitation facilities that could assist with taking over the fostering duties. The locations close to me were already closed for the evening however. 

Through the website, I was able to determine my squirrel was about five weeks old, the best way to keep him warm, and that he would expect to eat about everytwo to three hours. So I  fixed up a box with a heating pad and the flannel shirt in it, mixed up a food solution I found on the website and off we went. Surprisingly, feeding him was easy and he took to the eye dropper like a pro.  He even used his little paws to help hold it in place.  After eating he would cuddle up in my neck under my hair and drift off to sleep.

We did this off and on all through night. Since they have to eat so often, he went off to work with me the next morning too, in a box, complete with flannel shirt and heating pad. Needless to say, Greg was a little surprised when he came to work that morning.

Later that morning at work, I was talking about the squirrel with Alisha, a young lady that works for Toscanos Café and Wine Bar.  She mentioned that her mom, Lynn, had fostered a squirrel a couple of years ago, his name was Peanut, and that she might be interested in fostering my squirrel. We talked with her mom and I’m happy to report that my squirrel has a new loving home and he is doing great.

My thanks go out whole heartedly to both Alisha and Lynn as well as the Squirrel Refuge website. Both helped save a life.


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