The mist was swirling as I crawled along at 10 miles down the track towards the village. Peering like a Mr Magoo character I saw something in the middle of the road that seemed to be moving but definitely not out of my way. The closer i got i realised it was some sort of animal and used as I am to kamikazee pheasants in the road I prepared to stop and beep the horn to let stupid things meander nonchalently out of the way. But it didn’t move and as I edged closer I realised it was a squirrel. It was lying in the road and obviously very hurt. So what to do. With images of rabid wild animals complete with razor sharp claws and teeth filling my head I decided I had to do something. I have never been able to ignore something in need and this was definitely in need of help.
I crawled to a standstill and beeped my horn in the hope it was just a very tough squirrel who wanted to test my mettle and refused to be told what to do however it lay pitifully but obviously still alive. I could hear dogs barking in the distance and was sure they would be here very soon, it’s a favourite walk for dog owners and I couldn’t bear the idea of whatever hellhounds ( usually silly sprokers and lazy labs around here) finding this little creature and potentially finishing him off in front of me.I get out of the car and gazed into what I can only describe as trusting and sad little button eyes and just was at a loss. OK …think…. I have to move him before anything else.
I opened the back of the car and with mortifying acceptance of what a slattern I have become I rooted through the boot full of items left by Andy and myself and not sorted, thrown away or checked for over 7 months. I can’t scoop him up in a Mcdonalds coke cup ,more’s the pity, lots of them thrown in the back! I can’t use a bag of potatoes that are sprouting nicely and I can’t use various items of strange heritage that don’t really bear describing. I could use my coat, but I’m hesitant to because it’s my only coat and it cost quite a bit . if the poor little thing is covered in fleas I cant wash it easily. Eventually find a T-shirt.. A t-shirt? Why and how did that find its way into the boot? With a pang of recognition I read the slogan… I read your emails. Perfect for an IT manager!
Wrapping the little animal up is going to take some doing. I can see that its leg is at a truly horrible angle and it makes me feel rather sick, I’m scared to hurt him but he needs moving because he is going to be squashed by a car or ripped apart by a dog at this rate. Why did I find him? Me, the most useless person at dealing with horrible injuries. Carefully lifting him I apologise again and again in case it hurts , I’m so sorry little man. I’m going to make sure you are ok.
So he is snuggled into the baby seat in a cocoon of material and I am back in the car. What to do now? Visions of a pet squirrel swim in my head and I imagine being known as the mad squirrel lady. I can take him home fix his leg
With matchsticks??? And feed him until he is better when he will live with me and the dogs in perfect harmony, but the dogs dont like sharing and I am certainly no wildlife nurse. I have no cage and above all else I hate the idea of him in pain. So…ring the RSPCA. It takes a while to find a number and eventually I get through. But I don’t like what I hear.
It is kinder to dispatch him asap. A quick blow to the head with a brick or hammer. OMG! Im no killer! I can NOT do that. I hang up crying declaring them to be inhumane whilst knowing that actually they are correct. OK plan 2. Who can do this for me? Of course we are in lockdown so not only can I not go to someones home but to turn up and say please murder this little beatrix potter character is really not something you can do to many people. The only person I can think of lives many miles away and I’m positive its not right. The poor little tree dweller is in pain and just jolting in the car must be excruciating. Ok plan 3… The vets.
I know they think I am mad. They also do not really want to help but I plead and beg and promise to pay whatever it will cost to euthanise kindly with a needle and so I am told to bring him along and they will meet me in the car park and do the terrible deed.
I drive the few miles apologising the whole time. I tell him stories of beautiful trees filled with a never ending supply of nuts and how he will be there soon. That his pain is ending and I am so sorry. I’m really sorry. I finally arrive and hand him over to a kind but slightly bewildered man. He is about to unwrap Sid ( Yes I have named him) but I explain he needs the T shirt as he is cold and feels safer if cuddled up. He smiles rather nervously at me but nods and humours me.
I take a last look at the little button eyes and think I can see he forgives me. Or maybe he just thinks bitch, I was going to make it back there!
I drive away with a huge sigh and tears falling. Ive condemned a little soul to death and given away yet another part of Andy. I consider phoning and begging for the T-shirt back but decide To let it go. I just hope it kept Sid warm and up til his last moment he was comforted by it.