Even when the experts say the odds are stacked against you, there’s still room to prove them wrong.
Exactly a week ago, Joey called me at the office and mentioned that he had just been at Trader Joe’s. There was nothing unusual about that but the next sentence caught me off-guard. He said that an employee who knew about Chubs (our rescue squirrel who is now healthy and 3 years old!) ran over to him and mentioned that he’d found a baby squirrel who had fallen the day before — it was in his garage in a box and not doing well. He didn’t know what to do with him.
From the way it sounded, the situation was life or death — this little guy didn’t have much longer to live unless he got food and medicine right away.
Joey met the guy on his lunch break and brought the baby squirrel home. He had pneumonia, was extremely dehydrated and malnourished. The little guy fit in the palm of his hand and his eyes weren’t yet fully open. He was barely moving.
We had some medicine and small syringes left in our fridge from when Rocky was sick awhile back and Joey picked up some puppy formula and Pedialyte, rotating between all 3 in an effort to save the little guy.
Once he was situated, Joey called a squirrel sanctuary for advice but their prognosis was grim — they said that 3 other squirrels who were about the same size had already died that week and since ours also had pneumonia, he wouldn’t make it through the night. Every breath he took had a clicking sound and he was wheezing badly.
As night rolled around, we sat on the couch preparing for the worst when we heard some shuffling in his box. His arm reached up like he was gasping for air and he began making panicked screeching sounds. We thought that was it.
I didn’t want him to die alone so Joey picked him up and we held him close. Blood started running from his nose and his lips began turning purple. It was gut-wrenchingly horrible but we tried to stay calm.
Holding him seemed to be causing him more distress so we sat him back down in a soft mound of t-shirts in his box to let him rest. A few hours passed and he was still clinging to life so we brought his box up and put it on our nightstand. He stayed curled up in his t-shirts (squirrels are used to nesting and babies get cold easily).
As 2 am rolled around, I was afraid to check on him, fearing I’d find the worst. Joey woke up and miraculously, he was still alive so he began feeding him the rotation of medicine, Pedialyte and formula once again. He was too weak to take in much.
When we woke up Wednesday morning, he was still with us. After seeing what bad shape he’d been in the night before, we couldn’t believe it. He was truly a miracle.
The next day, Joey kept up his routine and the squirrel baby went from being listless to having more movement. He began responding when we pet his belly but he was still too tiny and weak to crawl.
By the third day, we felt that he had a good chance of survival and it seemed like the right time to give him a name. Joey named him Tiki.
As of today, Tiki is still very tiny but is now able to eat 3 times more each feeding than when we found him and now, he can crawl. His eyes have fully opened and he’s very alert and playful.
Watching Tiki make such a strong comeback over the last week is like nothing I’ve ever seen. He’s literally beat all the odds and for once, I’m glad the experts were wrong. Tiki’s turnaround has been so swift that I’m taking daily photos just to remember how far he’s come.
We’re not sure where Tiki will live when he’s healthy but right now, I’m less worried about that. I just want him to get stronger, healthier and to a point where he’s able to eat and drink on his own.
This last week has been a total rollercoaster but I hope you’ll keep Tiki in your thoughts. He’s a reminder that little miracles are happening around us each day.