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Thread: Long overdue introduction...

  1. #1
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    Default Long overdue introduction...

    Hello all, my name is Della-Marie…I have been a member of this forum for 8 years now, (after popping in & out as a guest for about a year), though admittedly a very quiet one. I have followed many threads, read many posts, & feel like I know so many of you. Every now & again I have even popped in to ask a question, add my two cents, or whatever, but regretfully I did not participate as much as I should have. For that I truly apologize. I would like to remedy that a bit of that now by sharing a bit about me & a situation I have recently gone through that I know you will understand, like no one else will.

    Let me begin by telling you a little about me & the little love of my life. I first joined The Squirrel Board about a year after my “little man” entered my Life. In late Nov. 2011 a neighbor had been trimming trees after a bad storm, & apparently a squirrels nest had been disturbed during their work. They found 2 baby squirrels on the ground. One poor baby was already gone, but the other one was alive. It barely had it’s eyes open & could barely stand on it’s own. The neighbor wrapped it in a towel & (knowing my husband’s wife was a tree hugging, animal loving, freak), rushed the baby to my husband. My husband, who had JUST finished lecturing me about having too many animals, & that I could NOT bring one more stray ANYTHING into the house, came in the front door, with a sheepish look on his face, pulled the little guy out from his jacket, wrapped in the towel & said, “Can we keep it?” Of course I immediately said YES! Of course we did try to find a local rehabber since we had never taken care of a baby squirrel before. Unfortunately, we were coming up short on any kind of help in the squirrel department. So, time to hit the internet.

    We figured Zipper to be between about 6-8 weeks old. I had my “baby sling” & I fed him every 2-3 hours, ‘round the clock. He was my ‘Little Man’, & he came into my Life at just the right time. Our two sons had just left the proverbial ‘nest’, (the eldest had already moved from the home a couple years earlier, but was now moving out of state, & my ‘baby’ boy was now moving out of the house), & I was feeling empty inside. Zipper filled that hole in my heart completely. He grew quickly.

    We learned by researching, (& by joining The Squirrel Board!!), what to feed him & what NOT to feed him. So from the very beginning, he did not eat junk. He ate Henry’s Blocks, (Picky Formula), fresh fruit & veggies, a variety of seeds & nuts & wild vegetation, HE LOVED the stuff I brought him from outside! All the stuff I have is completely organic garden - no pesticides—purslane, dandelions, wild grasses, clover, hibiscus flower, ooh & magnolia blooms! & whatever else looked yummy. His absolute FAVORITE food was avocado. As a matter of fact, at one point that was all he would eat, (more on that later).

    He was a happy boy, and as my very first rescue, I suppose I spoiled him. I took him outside often, but he didn’t want to go far from me. I have a pine tree in my front yard that he did love to climb on & eat the bark & I would bring in the new pine cones during the season & let him go to town on them, & he LOVED to climb around in my mailbox! He had such a personality. Mostly he wanted to be chauffeured around on my shoulder. We would walk around the block. He sat up there just looking around. I would stop at trees & places for him to get off & explore, but nope, he would have nothing of it. He only wanted to stay on my shoulder.

    I have to get up very early in the morning to get my husband off to work. Well, Zipper would hear me, & he would wait for me to get done with ‘Daddy’, because then it was ‘our time’. I’d get him & we would sit in my rocking chair & just snuggle & rock. Sometimes we’d both fall back to sleep—Zipper all snuggled up in my robe next to my neck all snug as a bug. Or in the evenings while we watched t.v. or I crocheted, This was our time.

    He was such a joy! He LOVED to play! When we had the room to spare, he had his own room, set up with cat towers, tree limbs set across the room to scamper across, (lying across shelves to other cat towers or the bed & small dresser in there). He loved to hide nuts. Give him a nut & he would take 30 minutes to find the ‘perfect’ spot to hide it. That could be under a pillow, in an open drawer or in my shirt, if I was lying on the bed. Just yesterday, while moving some blankets from under my bed, I found a pecan that he had hidden, who knows when—a last gift perhaps. When we no longer had the extra room, (my son moved back home) I would let him run free in my bedroom. We would play. ‘Tug-of-war’, ‘hide-n-seek’, & chase, amongst others. He would hide nuts, or we would just snuggle. We also had blankets tacked to the back of the doors in both rooms, (when he had his own room & then in my bedroom). He loved to race up the blankets & then under them. He just LOVED to play. He loved me to scratch & tickle his belly or scratch his ears. On ‘grooming day’ his favorite part was when I would clean his ears. It’s like he would go into a trance. It was like, ‘Ahhhhh…..’. Then I would clip all his nails, check his teeth, & comb his hair, (which he LOVED!!!).

    As time went on, it became obvious that he was a “house squirrel”, & boy did he rule the house! Even with 2 dogs & 2 cats, Zipper was the leader! LOL!

    Then this January, as I was getting him out for our morning snuggle, I noticed his right eye looked a little swollen & like it was scratched. I watched it, came to TSB, got the eye drops that were recommended & started treatment. Over the years we have still inquired into squirrel rehabbers in the area to no avail, (which is one reason this board has been SO helpful!).

    After putting the drops in, his eye seemed to get better. But then a few days later it looked worse, so we started looking up vets & the ONLY vet in town touted themselves as an ‘Exotic Bird & Small Animal Hospital’. Their specialty is birds, but they do work on small animals. We didn’t have any better place to take him so off we went. ALL the way across town. The Dr. examined our boy, said he had never seen a squirrel this age SO healthy. Then proceeded to look at Zipper’s eye. He said it looked really bad & that he definitely thought that it was going to have to come out. (??!!!) So, he wanted to do some
    X-rays on our boy so that he could see if the infection had, in fact reached the other eye. So, he put him in a little plastic box & blew the gas in his face to knock him out so he could get x-rays. When Zipper didn’t go to sleep right away, he said, “Wow! He’s a tough little fellow! We need to up the amount of (name of gas).” I really didn’t like this but it was too late. After the x-rays, (he did at least 3 of them), he showed them to us, showing that there was no infection into the other eye. For a few seconds he was concerned about this large mass midway down his back, then realized it was my poor boys scrotum & penis. (Again ???!!!) So, he told us that the eye would definitely have to come out.

    Now there is no price for my little man, but I don’t like being robbed either. This v
    isit already cost us $700. Now he was telling us to bring him back to remove his eye, but it would cost another $1300!!!!! I told him I needed to think about it. We took our boy home with the antibiotics he gave us & just started with that. After a few days of the antibiotics, his eye cleared up, the swelling went down and he was starting act like his old self! We were SO happy!!!

    Then again about 2 weeks went by and I noticed a couple things weren’t right with my little man. 1. His eye had a bit of a swelling just above his left eye, 2. He wasn’t able to crack his nuts anymore. It seemed that hard things were difficult for him to eat. That’s when I decided to take a look at his teeth, (last time I looked at them was right before we took him to the vet), & I was devastated—His upper teeth were virtually gone, they were even with his gum line. His lower teeth look like they had been shattered. They were still there only they look like he had tried to bite into a rock & they broke off in the process. Every day the swelling on his eye got larger, & he woke with ‘gunk’ in his eye. So, everyday I gently cleansed the ‘gunk’ out of his little eye. Until one day while cleaning his eye the swelling popped open releasing a huge amount of puss that had been building behind his eye,

    After that his eye seemed to feel better, (not having all that pressure behind your eye I’m sure helps a lot!), but he was losing hair. He was almost completely hairless on the back end of his body. The only thing he was able to eat were, yep, avocados. He just continually got worse. Soon his bottom teeth were gone as well. I was giving him organic baby food vegetables through a syringe & probiotics, but he just kept getting weaker & weaker. Finally on July 24th, 2020 @ 12:07 a.m. he scampered out of my arms & over the Rainbow Bridge. He would have been 9 years old on October 27, 2020.

    He came into my life when I needed him & I am going to miss him more than I can possibly say. It’s just truly difficult not to just go get him whenever I want to.

    I am really & truly lost right now.

    One of the reasons for my writing this is that my family, though they know that I love Zipper, they don’t truly understand how I HURT. How I ACHE that he is gone. He was not just a squirrel. He was a part of my life. A part of my family. I am having a REALLY hard time of this. So much so that I would go so far as to say that I am depressed. I miss my boy so much. I thought if anyone would understand someone here would.

    Thanks for listening to my L-O-N-G post. If you would like I will post some pictures of Zipper. If so, is there a limit? Thank you again for listening to a heartbroken ramble.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Long overdue introduction...

    I am very, very sorry Zipper had to leave you. . Most of us on here have had to face that same heartbreak so we absolutely know what you’re feeling. Zipper sounds like he was a very special boy and
    you two had a wonderful relationship. Although it’s hard to believe now, the squirrel sized hole in your heart will hurt a little less as time passes. It will never stop hurting, though, because these guys have such a profound impact on those of us that have been blessed to care for them.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Long overdue introduction...

    Awwww...... Godspeed playful Zipper.

    Once touched by squirrel magic, we are never truly the same. I hope you can remember the good times you had with Zipper and that the pain of loss dwindles away.
    See my wild squirrel adventures in the thread "Squirtle's yard!":
    https://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/...quirtle-s-Yard!

    Loving dad to Sir Max, 2017-2018. There is no foot so small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world.

    "Once in a while you get shown the light, In the strangest of places if you look at it right."
    -Grateful Dead

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Long overdue introduction...

    What a beautiful story, thank you for sharing Zipper with us. You are very fortunate to have had a squirrel as a family member -- who WANTED to live with you and be a family member, not a captive -- for almost 9 years. 9 is quite a ripe old age for a grey squirrel....probably equivalent to about 85-88 in a human. Yes, some have lived to 12-13 but it's quite rare, like people who live to 100. You certainly went out of your way to do everything right for Zipper and it sounds as if he couldn't have had a more perfect life if he tried.

    So many of us here know the pain of this unique kind of loss. Is it because they are from the "other" world, the wild world where we don't belong and are often unwelcome guests? They make us part of that world by sharing ours....it's such a rare and magical experience to love a wild thing.

    Bless you for giving him his life back; you were further blessed that he chose to share it with you.
    Island Rehabber
    NY State Licensed
    Wildlife Rehabilitator


    "Ancora Imparo" (I am still learning)
    Michelangelo


    *
    If you can't afford the vet,
    You can't afford a pet.
    NEGLECT IS ABUSE.

    "Better one day in the trees, than a lifetime in a cage."

    '...and the greatest of these, is Love. '

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Long overdue introduction...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mel1959 View Post
    I am very, very sorry Zipper had to leave you. . Most of us on here have had to face that same heartbreak so we absolutely know what you’re feeling. Zipper sounds like he was a very special boy and
    you two had a wonderful relationship. Although it’s hard to believe now, the squirrel sized hole in your heart will hurt a little less as time passes. It will never stop hurting, though, because these guys have such a profound impact on those of us that have been blessed to care for them.
    Thank you so much for your kind words. Yes, Zipper was a VERY special boy and our relationship was one that I don't think I will ever be able to duplicate again. I hope you are right about the pain abetting, because right now it is almost unbearable. I miss my little guy so very much. I feel like I am no longer part of that special world any longer. I am no longer a squirrel mom. I am just so lost......

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Long overdue introduction...

    Quote Originally Posted by TubeDriver View Post
    Awwww...... Godspeed playful Zipper.

    Once touched by squirrel magic, we are never truly the same. I hope you can remember the good times you had with Zipper and that the pain of loss dwindles away.
    No, we are NEVER the same, and I wouldn't want to be. He taught me SO much! I am a much better person because of my time with Zipper, and I wouldn't trade that time for anything...I only wish it didn't hurt so much to lose that brilliant little light that I loved so much.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Long overdue introduction...

    Quote Originally Posted by island rehabber View Post
    What a beautiful story, thank you for sharing Zipper with us. You are very fortunate to have had a squirrel as a family member -- who WANTED to live with you and be a family member, not a captive -- for almost 9 years. 9 is quite a ripe old age for a grey squirrel....probably equivalent to about 85-88 in a human. Yes, some have lived to 12-13 but it's quite rare, like people who live to 100. You certainly went out of your way to do everything right for Zipper and it sounds as if he couldn't have had a more perfect life if he tried.

    So many of us here know the pain of this unique kind of loss. Is it because they are from the "other" world, the wild world where we don't belong and are often unwelcome guests? They make us part of that world by sharing ours....it's such a rare and magical experience to love a wild thing.

    Bless you for giving him his life back; you were further blessed that he chose to share it with you.

    Thank you so much...your kind words were so reassuring. They were filled with the peace I needed. Yes, having Zipper around was mutual, it wasn't an ownership thing, he could leave any time, but he thought he belonged here. Our time together WAS magical. HE was magical. I will miss him for as long as I live.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Long overdue introduction...

    My heart breaks for you��
    I and so many here know what your going through.
    Your right, it's comforting to come to a place where others know the love only a squirrel can give. It is amazing how deeply we fall in love with them. They become part of our soul.
    Zipper will never leave you he will be your loving angel forever��
    Trust me he will send you signs.
    He would not want you to be sad for too long, but to remember all the wonderful times you two shared ��
    God bless ��
    Last edited by island rehabber; 08-14-2020 at 08:26 PM.
    Charley Chuckles gone from my arms FOREVER in my heart 8/14/04-3/7/13
    Simon, our time was too short together, but you gave us so much love, be with CC now 3/7/14


    The "CHARLEY CHUCKLES MEMORIAL RAIL TOUR" leaves the station choo chooo
    *Deland,FL. *Washington DC *Boston (Back Bay) *Boston (North Station) *Wells,Maine *Albany,NY *New York (Penn Station) *Back to Deland FL. "July 1- July 22" 2013

    http://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/s...RIAL-RAIL-TOUR Check it out here
    http://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/s...OW-A-NEW-MOMMY!!!!!
    http://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/s...RAINBOW-BRIDGE
    http://thesquirrelboard.com/forums/s...e-called-Simon
    charleychuckles1@gmail.com

    I'm not poof reading any of this

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Long overdue introduction...

    THANK YOU so much for sharing Zipper with us! Yes please, all the pics and videos you have and want to share, we want to know him too. But all in your time. If it helps you to post them, do. If it hurts too much just now, we'll wait until you feel up to it. We all grieve in our own way, but we sure do grieve.

    You are so blessed that he chose you, and you can bet he knows he was blessed to have come to you.

    I had to chuckle about your husband lecturing you about no more animals and then having his heart melted by Zipper.

    Was afraid to keep reading about the vet visit, was afraid you were going to say some crazy incompetence did him in.

    It doesn't make it hurt any less, but you gave Zipper the best and kept him happy and healthy until his body just wore out. Of course it's NEVER long enough, but his long life is a testimony to your love and care.
    "I hope everyone got or gets their Baby Love today"~Shewhosweptforest

    https://www.henryspets.com/1-baby-squirrel-care-guide/

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