“Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is the caterpillar.”
Bradley Miller

K came running out to the front yard, tears streaming down his face, a look of absolute terror and fear in his eyes, screaming, “Mama! Mama! Indi is going to eat it. She’s going to eat it! You have to save it. Please Mama. Please save it.”

Terrified, I followed my sobbing boy to the back yard where I found my otherwise sweet and kind dog, losing her shit – for lack of a better term, in the landing by the back door. She looked almost rabid she was so hyped up and anxious over whatever it was she had found.

Fearing the worst, I ran down the steps and yanked her away yelling at her to stop. She was bound and determined to continue her attack, so she broke free of my grasp relatively easily, and dived back down the stairs. My kids screamed and wailed at the top of their lungs for the dog to stop and for me to save whatever it was she was trying to eat.

Without even thinking about it and with strength that really only surfaces when one is put in these types of situations, I managed to toss my 60lb lap dog up the steps, and without looking, I scooped up a little clot of matted fur into my arms, wrapped it in my shirt and ran into the house – sobbing, screaming, crying little ones at my heels, “is it ok? Is it dead? is it deeaaaddddd?? I hate Indi. I hate her. She’s so meeeaaannnn.”

I had no idea what I was going to find on the little landing by my back door, not much ever happened by that unused door. I also had no idea how long my dog had been tormenting whatever it was she was so crazy about, and I had no idea what condition this little creature was going to be in when I was finally able to inspect the poor soul.

I’ve got to admit, I prepared myself for the worst.

……

As an empath and an avid animal lover, seeing any kind of animal (or human, for that matter) suffering or in pain physically hurts me, but I knew I had to be strong and keep it together for the kids. They were clearly not able to hold it together themselves, so I had to be the glue for them.

Mom the glue that holds everything together, even when she feels like she's falling apart.

I am not be the strongest person by any stretch of the imagination, but I do what I can to conquer and face my fears with a brave face to the best of my ability, especially in front of my kids.

Let’s take spiders for example. I HAAAAATE spiders, just as any normal human being would. They give me the heebie jeebies and creep me the f out. I just don’t like the look of them. My kids know this. They know I am terrified of them and they know I try my best to NOT show fear when they randomly appear out of nowhere. They think it’s hilarious. “Look Mom, spider! haha got youuuu.” jerks.

Over the years I have tried controlling the fear instead of allowing the fear to control me, so when faced with one of these vile creatures, I do my best to maintain my composure and show compassion.  I try to to be the bigger person in these scenarios. I try not to let them get the best of me. So now when we find spiders in the house, I encourage a safe removal and re-homing of said spider. We will place a glass over the spider, slide a piece of paper underneath the glass and verrrrrryyyy carefully move them outside. I don’t care if it’s -30 outside kids, we are showing kindness and putting him back in their OWN HOME.

Funny story…

There was this one time where my daughter and I were re-homing a spider on a particularly windy day. We got him outside no problem and I told my daughter we did a good job being so kind and compassionate towards this itty bitty, nasty critter. We were about to make our way back into the house when a gust of wind came around the corner and whipped my hair into my face. Me, the spaz that I am, assumed it was the spider seeking revenge on me for dumping him outside, by jumping in my face. Needless to say, I screamed, smashed the glass on the front step, jumped off the landing shaking my head, and all while frantically clearing the invisible web (aka MY OWN random hairs) from my face and body. My daughter watched on with wide eyes and open mouth and then BURST into laughter. That’s when I realized that it was in fact, my hair, and not the spider that jumped in my face. I calmly smoothed my clothes, pushed back my hair, and confidently walked back into the house, leaving my daughter in tears on the front step.

I said I TRY. I didn’t say I was always successful every time.

To this day, that’s still one of my daughters favourite stories to tell.

……

Anyways, back to the original story.

We ran upstairs and into our bathroom, closing the door behind us. I was thinking to myself… If this thing is still alive, the last thing we need is for it to break free and get lose in our house only for the CATS to continue tormenting it.

I could feel it vibrating in my hands, so I knew there was still some life left in it. Slowly I unwrapped my shirt to reveal the sweetest little mat of soggy, dirt riddled, stinky fur we’d ever seen. It just lay in the palm of my hand, twitching, eyes wide, and breathing heavy.

After careful inspection, we realized this thing had absolutely NO noticeable injuries on it, aside from the fact that it was most likely being in shock, it was perfectly fine.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been lucky enough to lay your eyes on a baby squirrel, but they are probably the cutest little things you’ll ever see in your entire life.

baby wild squirrel with kids cute cuddly adorable

Sheena holding a baby squirrel

He was tiny, he fit in the palm of my hand, so while he was fine getting around on his own, he definitely still needed his mama to help care for him. I didn’t want to just toss him out the front door, so we gave him a bath (he was disgustingly dirty, most likely due to the mass amounts of dog slobber mixed in with general yard debris) and outfitted him in a retired hamster cage. We did some research and we learned more about squirrels than we ever thought we even cared to know. We would bring him out into the yard a couple times a day, and let him run, play and climb so that he wouldn’t lose that need or desire.

tiny baby squirrel snuggled up in his cage

We named him Charlie, pronounced: Chaawwwwlie. He was a nibbler and all we could think of was that video of the kid biting his brothers finger, so it fit.

After a couple weeks of caring for this adorable little monster and when we felt he was big enough to be on his own, we brought him to a treed area not far from our house. The first time we tried to release him, we failed. He wouldn’t leave me. He kept running a couple feet ahead and then he would turn around and run back to me, climb up my leg and into my arms. Needless to say, after the third or fourth attempt I decided it wasn’t meant to be, I cried, picked him up and brought him back home. I told him we would try again the next day.

The next day was a success. We patiently let him take his distance,come back, take his distance, come back before he eventually wondered off into the woods and didn’t come back. We cried. We said our goodbyes. We had an incredible moment of reflection and gratitude and we returned home to clear up the little home we made for him inside our home.

It’s been two years and the kids still yell for him every time we drive by those woods.

“BYE CHAAWWW-LIE! WE MISS YOU!”

baby squirrel sitting on a wooden porch

My kids and I learned a lot about love and compassion during those weeks. Lessons none of us will be soon to forget.

We also learned that our dog really doesn’t like squirrels.

Do you have any fun rescue stories? Let’s hear about them!

kindness compassion lessons learning making new friends