I grew up in the suburbs and my family had a cottage in the country, so I’ve been surrounded by squirrels most of my life. I’ve always found them absolutely adorable and highly entertaining but, other than throwing them the occasional peanuts, I’ve never really thought a lot about them.
Then, in early 2007, when I was looking for an organization that I could volunteer with regularly, I came across the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley. Its mission is to “To provide high quality care and rehabilitation of injured, sick, and orphaned wildlife within the Silicon Valley Community. Through educational programs, we foster a positive coexistence between the general public and wildlife, and encourage an interest in, and concern for wildlife conservation issues.”
When I went to the orientation session, I learned that they needed volunteers to foster orphaned squirrels in their homes until they’re old enough to be released back into the wild. The moment I heard about the program, I knew it was exactly what I was looking for.
The Center has a policy that volunteers can’t begin to do home care until they’ve put in a certain number of hours on site, so they can observe how we work with the animals. By the time I had my hours in, there were no more squirrels available! 🙁
Fortunately, squirrels have two breeding seasons each year so, when July rolled around, we started getting more in. The first ones we get are really small—and therefore more vulnerable—so the Center gives them to more experienced caregivers to give the little guys (and gals) the best chance for success.
So it wasn’t until the end of July that I finally got my first charges. And while I was pretty nervous once I realized their lives were now in my hands, it didn’t take me long to fall in love with the job. I ended up caring for two sets that first year and had the special pleasure of being able to release them into my own backyard where some of them still hang out. (Others have moved on to find mates.)
I documented my experiences with my first set as part of my other blog, Embrace Adventure, but have decided to now create Life in Squirreldom, where I can go into more depth about everything I’m learning about these fascinating creatures. I’ve copied all those earlier posts here as well so you can follow the story from the beginning if you’re interested.
I’m now in my second year of squirrel care, and on my second set of the year already! I’m looking forward to sharing my stories with others who are interested in squirrels and hope that you will also share your stories with us.
Welcome to Life in Squirreldom!