Waiting for my gas tank to fill at the Sam’s Club pump, I watched a squirrel stagger onto one of the parking lot tree islands. He walked like his back feet were sunburned and every step was agony. Every few steps he rested, spread-eagle on the ground, as if about to be frisked by the police. His tail was gone. Instead he had a tiny nub that was bandaged with gauze and tape.
Naturally I was full of questions: How is he out of the hospital already?
Did he leave against doctor’s orders? What if he gets an infection?
I finished pumping gas and pulled over to keep watching. The Sam’s Club shopping cart collector came along. We considered catching him in a cotton grocery sack and taking him to WildCare. He made it to the edge of the lot, and we decided humans had done as much as he wanted done so we let him be.
I can’t stop thinking about that squirrel, wondering how he’s getting along, who is changing his dressings? Nor can I stop thinking about whoever found him and dressed them in the first place.
by Melanie Pennington
I’m no vet but the squirrel seemed in pretty bad shape to me. I suspect he’s not long for this world. Yet I am full of hope, triggered by a tiny swatch of gauze and tape. I am so prone to assume, more often than not, that people are jerks. Nope. More often than any of us ever know, human beings are amazingly kind, generous and tenderhearted. They notice the very weakest and most broken creatures among us, and go out of their way to help. They spend their time and money healing up wee calamities of this life together called creation and we are all the better for it, whether we know it or not. Just seeing a squirrel with a taped-up tail left me loving people just a little more. So thank you, neighbor, for that gift. I pray the day treats you to something just as lovely and full of hope.
~peace & prayers,