A sad joke that rehabbers often used is "Why did the chicken cross the road? To prove to the squirrel that it CAN be done!" Squirrels are so often struck by cars as they dart across running from predators, returning to babies, foraging, etc. The sad fact is, as rehabilitators, we often get in squirrels that were hit by cars on the rear quarters leaving the squirrel paralyzed but alive. Since a paralyzed squirrel is not a releasable animal, they are usually euthanized once it is shown to be a no hope for recovery.
I got in this same scenario as I have dealt with many times. Adult male grey squirrel. Hit by car. Not using the hind end properly. Dragging his hind legs. His tail not responding to any stimulation. I did the usual intake of pain meds and anti-inflammatory, etc. Make him comfortable, stabilize him and hope that after the initial trauma calms down perhaps the paralysis will go away and he will recover.
Two weeks later there was still no real improvement. Still dragging his hind end, no deep pain response. And now would be the time to make the call. No improvement. No hope for release. Time to euthanize. But I looked at this squirrel. For some reason he was not like all the others. He had such life and spirit. He still got around, using amazing upper body strength. Eating and drinking like nothing was wrong with him. I went to make the call to the vet to have him put down and as I was on the phone I looked over at him swinging across the top of his cage like monkey bars and just told the vet. "I am gonna give him a little more time..."
I decided I needed a moral second opinion and took a video of this guy still so full of life, getting around as if nothing were wrong.
Squirrel with a will to live
After seeing this and a few other videos of how lively he was, I was made an offer I could not refuse. Once again, the amazing heart of Michael Marchigiani came through again, helping to save another life. He offered to pay for a luxury cage and accessories and sponsor the new addition for the rest of his life. So after a month of confinement for recovery, Mike named the new member of the Family Jasper and he moved into the new cage.
Jasper is not a PET by any means. He was a WILD Adult male squirrel when he was hit by a car. He does not like humans. He is quite aggressive. He tolerates interaction for treats although is very grabby and often scratches if you try to offer anything by hand. He had to be bathed regularly since he has no real bladder control but he does seem to be living a happy and healthy life in captivity where we give him lots of animal enrichment to keep his mind active. He has progressed over the past year to have minor strength in his hind end, not enough to walk properly but more then he has since intake. He will never be released but we hope he will at least have a good quality of life, living a life of luxury, free of predatory and cars and plenty of treats and love. And of course Mike is never satisfied with "good enough" he is always looking to improve and make a bigger and better life for the animals he loves and recently upgraded Jasper to a BIGGER cage with lots of wooden things for him to play and chew which will be replaced as needed.
Granted with his paralysis he can not have the luxury a normal squirrel would prefer as he needs to have precautions taken to assure he is not injured by falling from falling from anything too high. But he gets around just fine and has a blast racing around in his new enclosure!
Passed away peacefully on 07/26/2017 He will forever be in our heart and bring a smile to our face with all of his antics.
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