Elsa, the hurricane, raged in July 2021 and swept a two-inch baby gray squirrel off an oak branch. Splat! The furry infant lay helpless on hot pavement with its hindquarters paralyzed. Unsure what to do, neighbors watched the unfolding tragedy. Similar to the New Testament story about a man robbed and left injured, the little animal seemed destined to die (Luke 10:30-37 NIV).
Then Jenn walked on the scene like a modern Good Samaritan. “The squirrel was covered in ants,” Jenn said. “It had been in the sun all day in a driveway. I wasn’t sure I could save it, but I had to try.”
She brought the tiny animal home and began giving it diluted Pedialyte, one drop at a time. As the squirrel responded to the sugary solution, Jenn gradually introduced formula. (There is an honest-to-goodness squirrel formula available from Fox Valley, a company selling nutrition for orphaned animals!). Jenn relied on her experience growing up with animals in Pennsylvania to guide treatment.
“As a kid, I fostered chipmunks, bunnies, and kittens. We always had a houseful.” She continues that tradition of compassion and includes her young son, Elliot, and husband, Craig, in rescue efforts. They named the squirrel Elsa and fed her every two hours for weeks. Eventually, they also implemented physical therapy that restored the squirrel’s mobility.
“I used to put Elsa on the kitchen counter, then move back a step and cup my hands for her to jump to me,” Jenn said. After teaching Elsa how to forage for acorns and make a nest, Jenn did what is called a soft release. She slowly acclimated the juvenile squirrel to the great outdoors. Elsa has complete freedom of movement outside now on her own, but she still arrives in the backyard at dusk to sleep inside a tissue box in a playground tower Craig built. Elliot calls the elevated wooden fort Club 101.
When Jenn goes into the shady backyard and calls, Elsa often scrambles down to ride on her shoulder. “When I go outside, I look like Disney’s Snow White because of the dogs, cat, bunnies and squirrels.”
Jenn takes great joy in the simple pleasure of her animal companions and family even though the household income has been reduced by pandemic business closures. “We should be grateful for all we have,” she said.
She seeks religious truth and respects many different traditions. Though she has questions about theology and doesn’t quote scripture, she knows one thing for certain. “We must do everything in our power to do the right thing.”
For her, life is precious. Even that of an orphaned squirrel others might disregard. Jenn showed mercy as did the Samaritan who went out of his way to bandage the injured robbery victim. The Samaritan acted quietly and generously to care for one in need. Are you willing to be inconvenienced today to help someone?
“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy” (Titus 3:4-5 NIV).
**Fox Valley is a manufacturer of milk (formula) replacement for orphaned and injured wildlife. For more information, click here.