The Visiting Patient

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Grace, the cat, loves to hunt…and she’s very good at it. We are careful to praise her when she does such a thing. She likes to bring her ‘catch’ up to us to show us her prize. It leaves me with a conundrum. On the one hand, I want her to keep our house free of mice. I also want her to be able to defend and take care of herself in this wild country, especially should life as we know it end and there is no cat food to be bought. (By now, I’m sure you’ve figured out that I have ‘the-end-of-life-as-we-know-it’ issues. Yes, I do.) On the other hand, these critters she brings up are so darn cute! I can’t stand for any living thing to have pain.

Grace is never vicious. She loves to play and ‘re-catch’ them until they die. The butterflies, which she is highly accomplished at catching, have a high mortality rate. They are just too delicate to survive her fun. She has caught numerous rodents of varying types, but I’m happy to say that only one (so far) has not survived. It was a mouse which was inside the house, so I was semi-okay with it.

One time, she brought up a rodent (I think it was a mole), meowing, with the catch in her mouth. I heard her, and looked out the screen door and saw she had a rodent of some type in her mouth. I called Bud and told him she had caught something. He immediately started praising her with, “Good kitty! GOOD kitty!”

I said, “We can’t let her in.”

SURE, WE CAN,” said Bud, in a doting tone.

So I opened the door, bumped Grace in the process and Grace dropped the rodent. It scurried off, and Grace ran after it and caught it again.

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You’ll be happy to know that it got away.

More recently, toward dusk one evening, I heard Grace meowing outside. I opened the door and she had a little ground squirrel. She dropped it and I quickly picked Grace up and put her inside before she could catch it again. It was still alive. I touched it, and it was warm. It moved a little bit. I left it there, thinking it was just in shock and would scurry off once it recovered.

Late that night, I looked outside and it was still lying there on the porch in the same position it was earlier. I went outside and touched it. It was very cold, but it moved slightly when I touched it. I picked it up, rubbed it’s back, and talked to it, telling it that it was going to make it… and I prayed for it. I got a box, laid a thick hand towel in it, and wrapped the squirrel up. I put the box in a chicken cage which was on the porch to protect it from racoons.

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In the morning, it was still alive, but still very cold. I got a ziplock and filled it with hot water, double bagged it, and put it in to the box with the squirrel. I would keep the bag filled with a continuous supply of hot water to keep the squirrel warm. I did some research online, and most websites recommended giving them puppy milk replacer. We happened to be going into town, and we stopped by a feed store and I was able to find some there.

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I fed it regularly with the puppy milk replacer. I wrapped the squirrel in a dishcloth and fed it the milk with a syringe without the needle. It would put it’s little paws on the syringe when I put the tip up to it’s mouth. It would start smacking and swallowing the tip as I put drops inside it’s mouth. It was so cute!

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I also put some pecan pieces in the box with it, and it ate some of the nuts also. It slowly got stronger and stronger. One of it’s eyes was closed. When I told my sister about it, ever the animal lover, she offered to pray for it. Not a day later, and that ground squirrel’s closed eye had opened.

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I was never sure if it was a baby or an adult. Bud was eager for me to get it out of the house and set it free. I had brought the cage inside, and put the box inside of the cage. Grace was preoccupied with that cage. She looked at the cage, ears cocked. She sprawled out on the floor near it. She put her paws on the cage. She jumped on TOP of the cage. UGH! It was infuriating. She knew an animal was in that cage, even though she couldn’t see it, and to my human ears, it was not making any noise.

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Early one morning, I awakened to hear Grace scampering around the house. I knew by the sound of her scampering that she was hot on the trail of something. Sure enough, the ground squirrel was feeling so much better that it had crawled out of the box and out through the holes in the cage where Grace was waiting for it.

I yelled for Bud to get up. He was still half asleep. In the excitement, neither of us had put our glasses on. We could not see the ground squirrel anywhere, so I had to keep letting Grace down to find it. She always went right to it, and I quickly picked her up again. I finally caught the ground squirrel. No damage done!

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Needless to say, after that incident, I knew the time had come that I had to let the ground squirrel go. I fed it some puppy milk one more time, said goodbye, and let it go where there were a lot of trees and dead leaves on the ground. We had also seen other ground squirrels over there, and thought it might find a friend.

As I set it on a big rock, the squirrel looked at me with it’s healed eye. I thought I saw a tear. It turned it’s head, and quickly scurried off, never to be seen again.

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14 thoughts on “The Visiting Patient

  1. Boy! The lack of gratitude in ground squirrels these days! Times are a-changin’, for sure! When I was a whippersnapper, no ground squirrel from a decent family would ever just run away without extending the proper thanks … It must be the schools fault … those overpaid teachers, for sure! Communists, ever’ one of ’em!

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    1. Amen to that, Man! The whole country is just going to pot, especially when it comes to the ground squirrel population! You know what Vladimir Lennin said…β€œGive me just one generation of youth, and I’ll transform the whole world.” I guess, sadly, it really is true! All of the evil learning institutions are control centers for mind control, anyway, and the teachers…WELL! How right you said it! This is all yet one more PROOF that the ‘end-of-life-as-we-know-it’ is near!

      And yet…I must give this particular ground squirrel the benefit of the doubt. It had just been through very trying times, just that morning having almost gotten eaten again by a cat after narrowly escaping it’s paws just days prior to that. We must also remember that it was under the influence of ‘puppy milk replacer’…so…I’m holding off on judging the poor thing. I’m not entirely sure it was able to think clearly.

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  2. Ooooh I love this story with it’s great ending. I, too, can’t bear to see anything die if there is any way to save it. And what a cute little thing it is. so glad to get the pictures and even gladder that you were able to save it. I can’t help but think that our Creator was watching and enjoying every minute of your care for one of His creatures. Thanks for sharing it.

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    1. I was so happy that the pictures came out good! I kept on thinking while I was caring for it (and praying for it) that the Bible talks about how God takes care of the birds, and I thought, “Surely he looks after and cares about the squirrels too.” πŸ™‚

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  3. Oh how I love this story…he’s adorable! God bless you for taking the time and effort to nurse him back to life! The pics say it all!

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    1. Thank you, Rose. It was quite gratifying to see it improve, and I’m so glad it DID improve. It would have been heartbreaking if it had died. I always appreciate your comments! πŸ™‚

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    1. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. You are the second person to suggest that I write a children’s book, and I’d already had an idea for one before that was even said. Maybe I should write a children’s book? πŸ™‚ Thank you for the idea. I’m really thinking about it now.

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  4. Oh wasn’t that the cutest little thing EVER?!!!
    What a sweet story, and so happy you were able to help the little fellow!
    But I can see the cats reasoning as well :O) she just thought it was another mouse?!!!!

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    1. Yes, Kim! I do think she was confused! On the one hand, we praised her when we found that she had killed a mouse in the house, but on the other hand, I kept on reprimanding her for following a sound of a potential ‘mouse’ and going after it when it escaped the cage. Poor kitty.

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  5. I’m thankful we don’t have much of anything for Abby to catch around here with the exception of gophers and those are elusive. She does catch plenty of grasshoppers and even eats them. If she ever did catch a varmint, I would praise her and at the same time, cringe. LOL. By the way, gorgeous pictures πŸ™‚

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    1. Thank you, Lee Ann. I feel exactly the same way regarding praising vs. cringing. I also have to say that I can really relate to your earlier posts about Abby and how she needed someone patient to adopt her. I think Grace must be very similar to Abby. She has so much pent up energy and curiosity, it takes a lot of patience at times. I’m afraid I fail the test sometimes. I’ve never had a cat with so much energy.

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  6. Whether the little chipmunk appreciated the care or not, God saw your heart of compassion for that little one and rewarded you with that good feeling you got when you saw him running off healed and whole.

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    1. Awww….yeah…I did feel good. When I walk out toward the place I set it free, I always look around, but haven’t seen it gain. I’ve had so many birds I’ve tried to nurse back to health, but they’ve had a high mortality rate, so it really was fulfilling to see this squirrel survive.

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