04 April 2009

Remembering Nero

It could be argued he was never meant to make it, after all. And it could be argued that we were wrong for taking him in and giving him the six additional years he had, especially when, by following the laws of nature, he would likely not have had six more hours on that July day in 2003.

But we rescued the neurologic young adult squirrel from the front lawn in a nearby community after an elderly homeowner, concerned for his safety, trapped him beneath a large flower planter. And we brought "Nero" home, finding him to be gentle and charming. He was also a little loopy, owing likely to some head trauma that knocked him forever off kilter from his course in life.

He never recovered his balance and would always tip over if he got too active but he lived stress-free with us, in the company of other, healthier squirrels who would come and go over the years on their way to freedom. And he looked forward to the times we would come over to his cage offering a nut, a piece of fruit, or one of the nutritional biscuits we often feed the youngsters when they are first weaning off formula.

At night he would tuck himself in tightly - wrapping his T-shirt around him, secure in his nestbox.

He was not in there on the morning of March 31. I found him dead, quite unexpectedly, beneath the ramp of his double-decker hutch. He had already rigored. He had not been visibly ill, though the day before I did note he had a curious, somewhat glazed look in one eye. Perhaps his time was through and that long-ago head trauma caught up with him at last.

It could be argued we should have simply let nature take its course so many years ago when predators were threatening him on that July day, prompting one man's care and concern. Ultimately, nature did run its course, just not that way.

I would like to think we did the right thing.


Jan 4 Insight said...

Of course you did the right thing! Six healthy years is a blessing, which I am sure Nero knows in his soul! He's probably thanking you from squirrel heaven right now.

I'm also sure you are feeling his loss. It's always hard to lose an animal who's been such a part of our lives, even though we know such a time must come. My thoughts are with you.

Cactus Jack Splash said...

So sorry for your loss.
How could it have not been the right thing to give Nero six wonderful years of life. He was cared for, safe, loved, and as free as he could be.
Thank you for taking care of him. Our prayers are with you.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I can't see how it was the wrong thing to have 6 years of happiness and love.

Totally Timmy said...

So sorry you lost the little guy. He was so sweet. Of course you did the right thing!! No question about it, he had a lovely life full of care and stress free living. I have 2 wild rabbits that came here as youngsters and I have no intention of letting go. They would never survive. He was one lucky squirrel.

Anonymous said...

Ditto that, Totally Timmy and all. Yes, you did the right thing. But as Jan 4 Insight says, we all know how this story ends. That doesn't make us any less sad. Bravo for taking him in. Meanwhile, the squirrel nest on my windowsill is more often occupied than not. I don't know whether there are babies, tho. Dallas

squirrelmama said...

You said that right, Dallas. Meanwhile I am glad for the nest. I know it is in good hands under your watchful eyes.

my backyard said...

Goodbye, sweet Nero!