1.) EVERYBODY NEEDS A FRIEND SOMETIMES
Right in the middle of the Busy Baby Season, I was loaded up with babies. I had just filled my last Baby Box (a cozy, insulated carrier) with a Southern Flying Squirrel—eyes not quite open, a little underweight, and snuggled tight in the nest I made. And, of course, since I was out of room, I got an emergency call about a baby deer mouse. I tucked him in to a smaller box and put him with the flyer. The goal was to keep them as separate as possible. When I woke up in the morning, their heating pad had gone cold. I opened up the box, worried about what I might find with two babies having been left unheated overnight…
THE LESSON: Everybody needs a friend sometimes, especially if times are tough.
2.) NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE UNDERDOG
Baby bunnies are the HARDEST. We have a really hard time getting them to pull through, and that’s when they’re healthy! This little guy had been snuggled peacefully in his nest when a ROTOTILLER turned him up. He had some worrisome damage… a tilted head and some incoordination. I was sure that he wouldn’t be a Happy Ending Story.
This crooked little bun ate better than any baby rabbit I’d ever had! He would suck down formula like a little vacuum, and he romped and wrestled with his foster siblings with gusto… He often won! He ended up getting released to the wild.
THE LESSON: Never think that the underdog doesn’t have a fighting chance—sometimes, they’ll surprise you.
3.) BEING TOUGH WILL GET YOU MUCH FARTHER THAN BEING CUTE (BUT BEING CUTE DOESN’T HURT)
This story actually has 2 lessons. I got a call about a nest of naked baby chipmunks. “Bring them in,” I said, quietly in a panic. I’d never raised chipmunks before, but I was willing to give it a shot. They had no hair, they had been without mom for a while, and I wasn’t at all sure how it would go. But I got them started on formula, bottle-feeding every 4 hours, and they started growing… and growing… and GROWING. I’ve never seen critters sprout up so quick. And they were CUTE. Adorable, velvety little nuggets. As soon as their eyes opened, I learned the second lesson of this story: CHIPMUNKS BITE. And I’m not talking about the “Oh, I’m scared, let me defend myself” biting. Or the “Please don’t touch!!” biting. I’m talking about constant, violent little nibbles (I think it’s how they show affection?). My hands were nipped to bits, and those lovely little demons got weaned QUICK.
THE OVERALL LESSON: Having an attitude might get you what you want faster, but being cute will make sure you have some help along the way.