So yesterday our neighbor guy Walt (think energetic, strange older man, 65ish?) comes bounding toward us, so excited to tell us that he found baby squirrels in the backyard. He thinks he's BRILLIANT for suggesting that the kids help me nurse them back to health with a dropper. I think he's OFF HIS ROCKER.
He happy-walks back to his house, and comes out with a butter dish. and sure enough, there are two freaky looking grayish blackish squirming rodents in there. okay, so they aren't rodents, but they are rodentesque, which is just as bad for rodent haters. see?
and he seriously tries to pawn them off on me! I was adamant that we did not want them, and his story kept getting more and more guilt-laden. He was talking about how he has a dropper, but no milk, and they need milk. And how fun it would be for the kids. And how he has saved other animals too, and found homes for them, and how rewarding it was or whatever. And I just cannot get past the thought of squirrels scurrying around in my house....eek.... So I tell him that I will feed them once (even though I did NOT want to) but I do NOT want them in my house. So then he goes after Lillian, telling HER how fun it would be. He was not giving up. so finally Steve comes home and backs me up. We end it by getting him a cup of whole milk, and telling him that I'll do my best to try to find them a home.
So I post an add on craigslist. And i call our neighbors. They say no, but they have lots of other good ideas like cooking them up or letting them die and teaching Walt about Darwin. (he was kidding...I think) :) I figured I did my duty, and tried, and now I could sleep in peace, knowing I did my part.
And then, less than an hour later, I have five (FIVE!) replies from crazy people all over the city who want to house these two squirrels. So I read through the replies, and found a wildlife rescue lady. Okay, she's the one I'll tell Walt to call.
But wait, what's that I hear??? Oh! It's Steve talking to Walt outside while he loads the kids into the car. Steve tells Walt we have a couple takers, so Walt comes over and GIVES THE SQUIRRELS TO ME! So now I ended up with the butter dish IN MY HOUSE somehow. Totally crazy. So I run downstairs. I have some errands to run while Steve and the kids are gone, so I'm in a major hurry. I call Dianna, the wildlife rescue lady. Of course she's not home. So I leave a message, wondering how to get rid of them. Should I drive them over to you? I will do anything!!!
I put the butter dish with the rodentesque squirrel things in the sun to warm up. Walt had been holding them to keep them warm. NOT ME. I run my errands, hoping with every inch of my being that my phone will ring. Call me Dianna. Just call me. And about an hour later I'm back at home, without a call from Dianna. So I check my email again, and have five MORE requests to have them! who knew!!! So I find one from Vikki, who also happens to be from a wildlife rescue team, and she's wondering if she can come get them. I reply to her email saying "yes! can you come TONIGHT???" (it's already like 9:00) and then I hear my phone ringing! crap! I missed the call, but when I listened to the message, it was Vikki, the same lady who I was just emailing, who works with Dianna, and she can come NOW! yay!
And then there's a faint whimpering noise. But it's not coming from the butter dish. It's coming from the kids' room. Lillian overheard my phone conversation, and she was DEVESTATED that our "friends" were going to leave. I have never seen such real, sad tears, ever in my life. In the few short hours they were in our house, she became their mother. I should have known. And now she was FULL of questions. How old are they? Where are they going? Did their mommy die? Are they going to be warm? Why can't they stay here? THE LADY DOESN'T EVEN KNOW THIER NAMES! WE HAVE TO GIVE THEM NAMES! So I go and get the butter dish, and Lillian holds it tenderly. We decided that since they look an awful lot like overgrown mice, we should name them Jack and Gus (cinderella's friends, for the Disney dis-inclined). She shed many tears over her "loss," so much to the point where I was getting quite teary myself. I stayed calm, insisted that we were doing the best thing we could to take care of God's creatures... and took some pictures of course. I was not about to tell her that I was pretty sure one of them had already died. So, pardon the picture of a dead squirrel-bunny. And please don't tell Lillian.
Vikki showed up soon after. I expalined to her that my 4 year old was quite upset, and had tons of questions. So she went in the bedroom, and talked very sweetly to her, and explained all that would happen. Then she went to take a look at them, so she could tell Lillian how old they were. She makes a strange "ah!" sound when she sees them, and I ask "are they squirrels?" She informs me that they are BUNNIES, and I feel a strange sense of relief. The idea of fluffy little bunnies in my house is much more appealing than scampering squirrels. Never mind the fact they can't even open thier eyes yet or crawl out of the butter dish. It's just the idea of it.
One bunny had indeed died. And she promised not to tell. She went back in to tell Lillian the news about our "squirrels" not being squirrels and left.
wow. that was a lot of stress and such for one night. I've decided I'm not really a pet person. And knowing now what the LOSS of a "pet" would do to Lillian, I'm pretty sure we'll not be pet-owners soon. I'm not so sure that "it's better to have loved and lost..." Not if I have to share in the devestation with my sweet girl. That was torture.
So Gus, or Jack (whichever one of you survived), please remember where you were born and come back and play in our yard when you're older. And Walt, you're a bunny-pawning little manipulator, but it made for a good story. :)
*to the English majors, or the grammar-sensitive folks out there: so sorry for the mixture of many tenses throughout this whole post. It is bothering me big time now, but not enough to fix it. my apologies.