Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Adventures of Sir Muffington

Muffin enjoying his tree meditation.

A squirrel whisperer never knows how long a little squirrel will remain in her care.  Baby squirrels sometimes go through a lot of physical challenges even before they are brought to us.

My pal Muffin was one of three boy squirrels found under the hood of a student's car, parked at the St.Ed's campus here in Austin.  Luckily mama squirrel chewed the wires so the young lady couldn't drive her car away.  The car repairman found the nest just behind the left headlight.  Mama squirrels will do absolutely anything to keep their babies safe from predators and bad weather!!!

Nugget, Muffin and Buddins.

These happy little buddies grew fast and strong and all went well.  Then at about 5 months old, I had to switch up their diet.  Apparently the fresh corn started giving them problems.  Muffin was the most affected. He became paralyzed and cried out in pain.  The other two had a few muscle spasms, but not as serious as what was happening to Muffin.  I started insisting on them eating their greens first thing in the morning and Calcium supplementation daily.  Along with copious doses of Reiki healing energy, Muffin recovered in about a week's time, although he didn't wave his tail for another week after that!

Muffin on the mend.

So the boys grew up and it got time for their release...  By this time, Muffin didn't want anything to do with Nugget and Buddins.  I had separated him during this healing time and although he got well, he seemed to prefer his own company thereafter!
So Nugget and Buddins went outside in their release cage... that's when the raccoons started showing up!  I guess the smell of food in their cage lured them and one night there was a ruckus... a raccoon was seen and the two boys were gone! OMG.....
In another day or so, Buddins was back at the front door looking for food... and Nugget must have run further away.  Whether he is still around, I am not 100% sure, although I think I see him every now and then.

Buddins and Nugget sharing a moment during their release.
Then it was Muffin's turn to be released.  I started putting his cage outside and then noticed that his teeth were crooked.  Oh no... hopefully not a malocclusion!  I took him to the vet to have his teeth trimmed evenly so he could eat.  The vet said it wasn't a problem with his teeth, but his jaw was a little askew.  That's when I discovered that he was sleeping with his jaw against the cage.  Oh no Muffin... bad idea.  I put soft blankies along the inside of the cage in his bed and after that his jaw straightened out, his teeth grew in straight and he was able to do the trimming himself.  Whew! But waiting 6 weeks to see if he would need another trim put his release off again.  And then it was winter!  
In the meantime, Muffin was getting to be a real silly squirrel.  He liked to jump on me first thing in the morning and give me a little kiss on my cheek.  Then after some mandatory nut-burying, we would play "jump on the roly-poly purple monkey or pink bunny rabbit".  Muffin loved that game and loved to jump on me and run around the edge of the massage table which held his cage. 

And it seemed that as he got sillier, he got increasingly cuter! OMG!  I have never understood how a squirrel can wake up every morning cuter than he was the night before! Amazing! He was so cute that he made it to the 2014 Squirrels Of Wisdom Calendar!

Muffin's cuteness and fame grows!

As Muffin grew older, he also started wanting to run around more and sit in high places.  Often he would enjoy his perch on the draperies at the top of a window!   
Hanging out in high places.

 The main problem with squirrels is that the longer they live with you, the more you fall in love with them.  At this point I was head over heels in love with the Muffin man and I dreaded the day I would be putting him in the outdoor cage to get used to the neighborhood sounds and weather.  Nevertheless, Spring did arrive and it was Muffin's turn!
At first he would hide a lot under his blankies in the Zico box or high tail it into his nest box every time a person came to the front door or a dog barked.  It seemed he was spending more time hiding than running around in his new large enclosure.
Then after a few weeks, he started coming out of hiding and chasing after the visiting squirrels that jumped on the outside of his cage.  He was acclimating nicely.

Then he started wanting out of the big cage and that's the sign to open the door.
With an anxious heart, I opened the door for the Muffin man.  He was very curious and explored Rosie's cage and the feeder by the front door and then retreated to safety.  That happened two more times with him getting a little further afoot... even checking out the roof.

Checking out the roof and how to get back home.

Then one day he got all the way across the roof and jumped into the Chinaberry tree.  He looked like he was enjoying sitting in the tree just hanging out. What a sweet perch.  That same night I got a  friend to help me put his personal nest box right there next to his branch.  I thought that might give him a safe haven.  Well, that turned out to be wrong.
The next time he went out, he ran right over to that tree only to be accosted by another male. Oh no.  My poor Muffin!  I saw it happening and could do nothing about it.  It looked like a squirrel whirlwind in mid-air. By the time I got close enough, the fight was over and the bully took off. Muffin was there quivering and softly barking on a low branch that I was just inches away from.  I kept reaching to him, calling, "Cmon Muffin, jump on me... C'mon home now."
Then I thought he was going to climb on me, but instead he took a hard bite out of my finger! Poor Muffin was so worked up... at that moment I realized he was no baby anymore. He just had his initiation into the world of the wild squirrel. Bless his heart.
That night he stayed out and I prayed and prayed,
Oh God please guide him home if he needs help.
The next day Muffin came back and climbed into the big outdoor cage. He was still very worked up, but at least he was home. I closed him in and let him calm down and rest in safety.
Time to Rest!

Muffin had a gash on the back of his right shoulder and was favoring that arm. After he calmed down, I treated it with colloidal silver and gave him some fresh watermelon and grapes. He drank water with colloidal silver in it and then took a long nap. He slept off and on for the rest of the day and later I took him in the house and back to his cozy bed. He needed some TLC and R&R before facing the outdoors again!

Deep Rest and Healing for Muffin

So the next day, Muffin was a brand new squirrel! Amazing what a mama's love will do... not to mention the many friends sending their prayers and healing energy!
We are so grateful for that!

Muffin was as eager and excited to go back out into the world, but this time exploring in a new direction!  
Good on you Muffin! 

Wishing Muffin a wonderful and happy outdoor life!
A squirrel mama's love is FOREVER!