Friday, June 7, 2013

Squirrel of my Heart

Miss Nubbins resting during the release process

Did I tell you that I love Miss Nubbins?
She is the squirrel of my heart.

Miss Nubbins came to me late last summer
 and I knew she was coming...
The day before, I heard a name in my head. "Nubbins" the voice said.  And I knew that was the perfect name for a squirrel.  And then I thought.... oh no... I can't take in another squirrel right now... I've already got my hands full.

The next day, a fellow in south Austin phoned me up and said he found a baby squirrel lying on his driveway.
He brought her over and I sighed... Ah! Miss Nubbins!

Baby Nubbins

She was a sweet angel from the very beginning.
Somehow the squirrel gods just know what you need.
She was always a wild one...
very independent and fearless.
Her heart would race sometimes and she seemed extra hyper.  She would run off and bump into walls.  I wasn't sure if she had a brain injury or not.  Time would tell.

Little Nubbins

Then when she was a little older, she started losing hair on her tail.  Oh no!  I wondered if she had a nervous condition or an adrenal problem.  Then one day, a friend of mine told me how her cat used to pull out her own hair.  So I began to pay closer attention to my little girl.
OMG...  one day I caught her pulling out her tail hair!
So I began to apply lavender oil once a day. The scent of the oil did two things. It kept her from putting her tail in her mouth, and the lavender also relaxed her.

Look mom... no tail hair! 

Then little by little her hair grew back. She enjoyed being out of the cage and running on me, her personal tree, once a day so I could apply the oil.  She just loved to run all over me... and I loved it too!
And her tail got very bushy and beautiful! 
Beautiful Tail!

Even though she didn't need the lavender oil, I let her have her daily run on her "mama tree".  She would run on me as I made the bed each morning and she became my little helper! 

Sweet little girl

Then after Queen Earl crossed over in January,  
I was able to give Miss Nubbins what she really needed.. more space!  I increased the height of her cage by three!  Now she could really run up and down and all around!  
And she would rarely lay still!  She had more energy than all my other squirrels put together!

As the winter drew to a close and Miss Nubbins grew older and longer, I knew it would soon be time for her release.
Yes, it is an awesome thing to release these little squirrels so they can have a normal squirrel life, 
but it is so difficult to say goodbye to a squirrel child one has nurtured and loved from infancy. 
It is not easy to be a human squirrel mother.  We are at a disadvantage, not knowing how to climb trees and build nests.  And when they move out, we really never know where they build their new homes.

Outside on the porch

So when the time came, I wheeled Miss Nubbins' cage outside and placed it right next to Mr.Nut's cage.  After about a week of letting her get used to the outdoor sounds, I opened the door on her cage.
To my utter surprise and delight, 
Miss Nubbins stayed close to me and Mr.Nut for the whole first month she was "free"!
She would run on the roof, but always come running back home. She liked to run in the grass and bury nuts. She loved to jump on me and even liked to hitch a ride inside the house.  She continued to help me make my bed each morning!  I felt so blessed to be her mom!

Then one day she made that leap off the roof into the neighbor's tree. I knew that would be the start of her real independence: I was happy for her and somewhat teary-eyed that my girl was indeed growing up!

Miss Nubbins enjoying her squirrel life

I was so grateful that she took it slow and that we got to spend so much time together!  I truly feel her love and appreciation.  And I know that she knows she can always come to me if she needs help.

Nowadays, Miss Nubbins drops by unexpectedly... sometimes in the morning and sometimes at sunset.
But no matter when, she is always welcomed with nuts, fruit and lots of squirrelove! 

What could be better than that?

I love you Miss Nubbins!