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Junior the squirrel returns to wild where he belongs

Discussion in 'Pet News' started by testmg80, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. testmg80

    testmg80 PetForums VIP

    Jul 29, 2008
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    (And I'm the one who Loves! squirrels!)

    By Jim Keyworth
    Gazette Editor

    Dick Sizemore is not the kind of guy you'd picture with a pet squirrel, but the Mesa del Caballo resident and wife Lois ended up with one anyway.

    It all started when Sizemore found the squirrel he named Junior under a birdfeeder in his backyard on Vista del Norte Road seven or eight weeks ago.

    "He was dehydrated and wobbly," Sizemore recalled. "So we brought him in, got him some water, and put him in the back room, because I was afraid a cat or something would get him in the shape he was in."

    Sizemore realized he had a very young squirrel on his hands.

    "He was almost a baby when we found him," he said. "He just barely had his eyes open. His teeth were so small he couldn't even shell a peanut."

    Once in the house, the squirrel ate a little; then it wanted out.

    "We let it out," Sizemore said, "but it didn't seem to want to leave. So basically it kind of adopted us

    "Lois and I would shell the peanuts and take them out to the tree where he could get to them. That's how we got acquainted."

    Junior became very friendly and very tame.

    "It got where he wanted to be around us," Sizemore said. "We never put him back in the house again, but when he would show up he would want to get on my shoulder or climb my pants."

    He also took to Sizemore's giant German Shepherd, Shelby.

    "Anytime we'd go outside, he wanted attention," Sizemore said. "He liked Shelby. He'd come around and Shelby would lick him.

    "She gave him a bath and he looked like he was drowned. She's not aggressive to small animals. She seems to know she's not supposed to hurt them."

    Then came the big neighborhood luau and wine tasting. Junior showed up and was the star attraction. He went to everybody. People posed for pictures with him.

    But it was a wakeup call for Sizemore.

    "I got kind of caught up in the fact that everybody on the street loved him and wanted pictures and stuff, but all of a sudden I realized that this was going in the wrong direction," he said.

    "You saw what happened over there at the party. Problem was, the longer we paid attention to him the more he wanted it. So my concern was that he might go to somebody who would put him in a cage."

    That's when Sizemore decided it was time to gradually return Junior to the forest - just beyond his back fence.

    "A week ago I saw him out in front in this tree with another squirrel," he said. "Then a few days ago both of them came back to eat out here.

    "We leave food out for them, but I've been ignoring him and he's starting to go wild."

    The other day, Sizemore believes, Junior came to bid farewell.

    "He came around and he was up in the tree and he saw me and he kind of came down," he said. "I petted him.

    "Before he would follow me all over. This time he didn't. He was kind of saying goodbye.

    "He's been here the last few days. We fed him and watered him. But he's not coming down and being sociable.

    "So he's doing exactly what I want him to do. He belongs in the wild.

    Sizemore, who has lived in Mesa del 10 years, grew up in Arizona.

    "I was taught to respect wildlife," he said. "You didn't just kill something to be killing it like a lot of people do today."

    He looks at his brief encounter with Junior matter of factly.

    "It just happened," he said. "He's going back to being a squirrel."

    And then, as if for emphasis, he says again: "He belongs in the wild."
    junior.jpg junior2.jpg
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