Her name is Violet, and she is not much bigger than the soft, violet-colored cast crafted of vet wrap that presently protects her injured front leg.
Violet made news just a few days ago when she tumbled out of the nest in a tree, as it was being cut down, landing her, front and center, on the Huffington Post website as a squirrel in distress. MSNBC, The Daily Mail and a few other news services also picked up the story and ran with it.
And there, through it all, was this photo of Violet, cradled gently in the palm of some anonymous, off-camera caretaker at the Wildlife Aid Foundation in Surrey, England. It was her shining moment of glory, her celebration of a life saved - a not insignificant act, considering this occurred in Britain, where eastern gray squirrels are viewed as non-native, invasive, unwanted pests and are often the focus of sanctioned killing sprees.
Violet is clearly an eastern gray squirrel. A not-quite-3-week-old, eyes-closed, injured, orphaned and very important eastern gray squirrel. And she is very much wanted. The rescuers have committed to caring for her and her brother, who was given the name Fred, until their release back into the wild in a few months when they are healthy and grown.
So her little purple cast has become more than a vehicle for her recovery. It is a symbol of the love and responsibility people can still have for the tiny, the helpless and the disenfranchised among us.
There is no doubt that before she and Fred are released, this tiny squirrel will stir more than her weight in compassion and awareness that even in a hostile world there can be hope.