I was sitting in the living room with my family when my dad walked in and mentioned something about a squirrel. My ears quickly perked up and my eyes widened.
“What squirrel?” I asked.
My parents then told me that they found a baby squirrel that fell out of the beech tree in our front yard the day before. They Googled what they should do and that it was now sitting in a box with a bag of warm water next to the tree overnight. I ran outside eager to see the little fella, and I instantly fell in love.
My family debated what we should do next since the squirrel’s mom had not come back for him. We, being the animal-loving family that we are, decided the best thing was to take him in as one of our own. My brother Mark and I rushed over to Pet Supermarket to get puppy formula and a feeding syringe. We put heating pads and towels in a storage bin to keep him warm and let him settle into his new home. We knew that once we named him there was no going back, so naturally, we gave him a name and welcomed Nutter Butter into the family.
Over the next couple of months, we watched as our little baby grew into a young, almost full-grown, squirrel. From one eye open to two, with his fluffy tail and a lot more energy, watching him grow made me feel like a proud mom. He became more comfortable with our three dogs and would curl up next to them when we let him roam around the living room. One of our dogs, Coco, even got a sweater that said “Squirrel Patrol” because she became very protective of Nutter Butter, always keeping a close eye on him. With him now wanting to explore more we decided to build him his very own, luxurious, two-story cage. He now has much more room to move around and jump from wall to wall.
As mid-November came around, my family needed to take our Christmas card pictures. We knew we wanted to have Nutter Butter in the picture. Somehow my mom convinced the rest of the family that it would be a good idea to take him to the forest with us. We loaded up in two cars with five people, four dogs, and a squirrel and no idea what was in store. We took all the pictures with and without the dogs, and then it was time for Nutter Butter to join in on the last one. As my mom was getting him out of the box, something startled him, so he wiggled away from her and up a tree. My parents told my brother, sister, and me to take the dogs home, and they would wait for him to come down. We did as we were told and left thinking they would come back with Nutter Butter safe and sound.
We had been sitting in our living room for about 10 minutes when my parents pulled into the driveway. My mom walked in with a shaken look on her face, and I knew something was wrong. She told my brother and took a minute to calm down while he came to tell me what had happened. I was sad to hear that a hawk had snatched Nutter Butter off the tree. While it still makes us sad to think about him, we now have a story to tell future Rotolo generations about what it was like growing up in an animal-loving home. Today we think about him as part of the circle of life and know he’s having a good time up in squirrel heaven.