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Thanks Little Orphan Squirrels For Making Me Whole
By Tammy Mackey

My amazing journey began on April 4, 2004 at 7:55am.  It was a day that I will remember forever.  I awoke to a grey drizzly day, and the first item on my agenda was to place sunflower seeds on the railing for our squirrel friends who frequented our property daily for special treats.  I enjoy seeing the wildlife come to our yard for a handout to help them along, especially when food is scarce.  As I walked along the second storey deck, I always checked the yard below.  I saw a lifeless grey squirrel at the bottom of our large maple tree. I immediately yelled to my husband Kevin to bring this squirrel inside.  I realized that she was an adult lactating female which meant that there were babies somewhere out there with no mom. I had to find those babies.

My husband Kevin is a carpenter with many talents, one of them being the building of squirrel houses.  At that time, we had one squirrel house on the property, and it was attached to the underside of the roof that overhangs our second storey deck.  Prior to this day, I used to watch a grey squirrel go in and out of this simple box that offered protection and warmth; I wondered if this was the same one.  For the next six hours, still in my faded blue housecoat, afraid to miss something, I did nothing but watch this box that I could clearly see through my living room window.

I saw nothing. Finally, Kevin took the box down to see if there were any babies in there; if there were, they would be very hungry.  He carefully unscrewed the top off and looked inside.  “I don’t see anything” he said, and I thought to myself, thank goodness.  As I looked in, I carefully moved a variety of materials including shredded paper, small pieces of fabric and leaves.  Lo and behold, I saw four baby squirrels with their eyes closed.  I was in complete awe.  Not knowing what to do, we put the lid back on their home and I went downstairs to search on the internet for the procedure to care for these baby squirrels.  I came across some very valuable information that I printed off hastily.  With bankcard in hand, I retrieved Esbilac Puppy Replacement Milk and a heating pad, syringes and flannel blankets.  I tried to do this at the fastest pace possible as time was so important to the lives that waited for my return. At home, I got a good sturdy box and followed all the instructions from The Squirrel Board.

Now was the time to feed our new furry friends.  I boiled the water and followed the instructions very carefully.  I filled the syringe to approximately 3 ½ cc’s.  I came upstairs with the formula in a mug and the syringe.  I carefully lifted the first baby squirrel and I placed him on a soft towel that lay across my lap.  The baby stretched out on his tummy and he didn’t fight or squirm in any way.  He was so docile and sweet.  He looked like a miniature teddy bear. These babies were approximately 5 weeks old according to a detailed chart.  I pushed the syringe oh so slowly so the little baby wouldn’t aspirate.  I learned that aspiration would kill these babies so I had to do everything just right.  After I fed each one, I had to take a cloth and rub it gently on their genitals to make them go to the bathroom.   All four babies drank their formula with ease and each of them did their little business.  After the feeding was over, they slept intertwined amongst each other on the soft flannel that was placed in their new little home.

These little squirrels had to be fed 5 times a day every 4 hours starting at about 7am.  I was a girl that enjoyed my sleep.  As I was not working then, any time before noon was too early for me.  My husband Kevin would get up early in the morning and do his daily errands.  Even on the weekends, he would rise hours before I even opened my eyes.  I treasured my sleep and sleeping in was my favorite past-time.  Now I had to rise before 7 am everyday if I wanted to take care of these little squirrels.  I couldn’t let them down and I had already fallen in love with them.  It was my duty to take care of them and give them the gift of life that they so deserved.

The following day I arose at an early 6:30 am and proceeded to make the formula.  I headed upstairs with a smile on my face, looking forward to feeding my new little friends.   Everything went well with each feeding and as they grew, so did I.  I grew in so many ways, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  Feeding four baby squirrels opened the doors of nature to me.  I fed the babies on the third floor of our home.  I sat in front of the fireplace and looked out five very large windows.  The view of Frenchman’s Bay is a pretty one with nature in abundance at every turn. The early morning hours were so peaceful on my street.  Our home was facing south so I would watch the sun rise and move around to the front of our home.  I never realized all the wildlife that existed in this area as I was never awake to see them.  I awoke to a new world thanks to the baby squirrels that had come into my life.  I listened to the birds singing and I watched the geese fly overhead.  There were so many varieties of birds and mammals.

I became so thankful that these baby squirrels had entered my life for I was becoming engulfed in a peace and serenity that was hard to explain.  The world of nature had become so interesting to me and I felt that it was calling me to learn more about the world I lived in.  I realized that the most beautiful things in life were free.  Helping these baby squirrels was so satisfying; it gave me a feeling that I couldn’t get anywhere else.  I was making a difference in the lives of these babies.

As the weeks passed, they all grew big and healthy.  For the next 5 weeks they were on their formula and then they were slowly weaned off.  They were introduced to rodent block and a variety of fruits, vegetables and nuts.  As they grew so did their home within our home.  The box was good for a while; then my sister gave me a small hutch type cage.  Oh how they loved to explore the new branches, leaves and sticks that were put in fresh daily.  A hanging water bottle replaced the formula.  After a while they outgrew the hutch and my husband Kevin built them an enclosure.  It was quite large–eight feet high, five feet wide and four feet deep.  I hung a few flannel hats inside the enclosure and that’s where they would sleep.  Big branches were permanently attached to the sides and a variety of fresh branches, leaves, twigs and pine cones were added on a daily basis.  They thrived with ease within this enclosure and they seemed content.  They didn’t pace or chew to get out.  It was now the month of August and I knew that they had to be released.  Oh how I worried about their safety.  I had watched them grow from tiny babies and I truly loved them so.  My heart was theirs.

Kevin cut a hole on the side of the enclosure that faced a window, and inserted a black pipe through this hole; the other end went through a piece of drywall that replaced the screen that was in the window.  Now, the squirrels could come and go at their pleasure.  It was early August and the weather was calling for straight sun for the next four days.  It was time for them to see the outside world, and to run amongst the trees.

Kevin lifted out the wire screen that blocked the outer entrance and we waited outside for them to come through.  First Beau, a beautiful black squirrel, came out followed by Brownie.  Kevin, I and our son William watched Beau and Brownie play at the base of our feet.  They jumped, rolled and tumbled amongst each other.  They were so excited and happy.  I sat in a small black chair that was part of a simple bistro set in our side yard.  I sat there all day.  I felt glued to that chair, not wanting to leave for fear of not knowing where Brownie and Beau would go.  It may sound strange but I was their mom and I felt like a mom with the fear of worry hanging over my head.  As the sun was going down, Beau and Brownie came inside.  Kevin slid a small screen through the tube to keep any predator from gaining access to the enclosure.  All four squirrels were sleeping in their flannel hats and I slept soundly also that evening.

Within the next two days Teddy and Tony dispersed and I have never seen them again.  Brownie, who was a large brown female, disappeared in January of 2008.  She lived on our property, until that time, in a squirrel house that Kevin built.  She would come when we called her and sit on our shoulders while eating a peanut.  It is extremely hard for me to have a friend that is a wild animal.  I have no control of what goes on outside the four walls of my home.  It saddens me that she is gone but she remains in my thoughts and in my heart.  My eyes can get teary and a lump can form in my throat when I now think of all my wild friends that are no longer in my life.  Even though it makes me sad that they are not here on this earth plane I would never take back the wonderful opportunity I had in raising or caring for any of them.

Beau, our beautiful black squirrel, lives on our property to this day in a house that Kevin built.  We now have 5 houses amongst the maple trees.  Beau sticks quite close to home, not venturing too far away.  I see Beau almost everyday.  She comes when we call her name.  I always have a variety of nuts available not only for Beau, but for all the little squirrels that come here to visit.  I am so thankful everyday to have a friend like Beau.

I have gained an abundance of valuable knowledge through this experience.  I’ve learned that all animals and humans have the same needs which are food, shelter, water, love and a good coat for winter weather.   I now look at all living beings as equal to myself.  I’ve learned that I can draw energy and inspiration from nature.  Nature soothes and calms my body and soul, and without it I would not be whole.  I don’t just see it, I immerse myself within it, and I feel as though nature is me and I am nature.  We, as humans, are all born into this world and we need to appreciate, understand and protect it.  When I see an animal dead at the side of the road, my heart aches as I feel as though I have lost a piece of myself.

My amazing spiritual journey began on this day, April 4, 2004, through the loss of a mother squirrel.  I am now awake more than ever to this world I live in.  My journey has sped up since 2011 and I feel directed through outer signs and an inner voice that never leads me astray.   I tap into creative and inspiring ideas during quiet moments of my days.  I don’t really know what is coming for me in the future in my spiritual development, but I have trust and faith that it will be a wonderful unfolding.

Thanks Little Orphans For Making Me Whole

I was a girl that liked to sleep
Until noon or one without a peep
All that changed one April day
When 4 orphaned squirrels came my way
I was up very early at the crack of dawn
I then noticed the birds on my front lawn
The mornings were peaceful and birds always singing
I never realized the beauty I was missing
Now I’m a girl that embraces the sunrise
My yard feeds squirrels and birds of all size
I have lots of dead grass where sunflowers lay
Up to 20 squirrels can arrive in one day
Two orphans ran and two wanted to stay
I look out for them always each and everyday
I never realized my yard was at war
With panic calls ringing who knows what’s in store
I’m a guard in my yard that protects my friends
Giving nature a chance to flourish and mend
I welcome God’s creatures to come and soothe my soul
Without them I’d be empty and I’d rather be whole

Tammy Mackay Bio:

My name is Tammy Mackey and I reside in Pickering, Ontario which is in the eastern suburbs of Toronto. I’m a country girl at heart who lives and loves life to the fullest. I believe that I’m born as a part of nature so my connection is extremely strong towards all living creatures including animals, flowers, rivers, and trees. Nature soothes my soul and calms my mind as it erases all stress and anxiety from within myself and without it I would not be whole. Planet Earth is my school for raising my level of consciousness. My goal is to make a postitive difference and live an enlightening life while learning new knowledge that can benefit myself and others. Heaven can be here on Earth when you are mindful, kind, thankful, generous and giving of yourself is important. I wish well for all!

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COMMENTS (2) | animal companion, animal wisdom, inspiration


2 Responses to “Thanks Little Orphan Squirrels For Making Me Whole”

  1. Diane
    May 2nd, 2012 @ 1:31 pm

    I loved this article. What an amazing woman.

  2. Nancy Oloro Robarts
    May 17th, 2012 @ 8:56 am

    Thank you for sharing such an amazing experience. I am an animal lover too and your article just made me realize how much all creatures are connected. Thank you

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