It’s not unusual for an orphaned infant of one species to be adopted by another animal of an entirely different species, especially when that animal is a nursing mother.
Females will often accept another species’ offspring into her own litter and raise it like one of her own, and the inter-species bonding begins . . .
A squirrel, just a few days old, was found injured and malnourished in the Seattle area in 2005. He was brought to Debby Cantlon, a local resident who is passionate about animals. Debby is known in the area for taking in sick and injured animals, and nursing them back to health.
The following photographs say it all.
Finnegan was resting in a nest in a cage just days before Giselle was due to deliver her puppies. Debby and her husband watched as the dog dragged the squirrel’s cage twice to her own bedside before she gave birth. Debby was concerned, yet ultimately decided to allow the squirrel out and the inter-species bonding began.
Two days after giving birth, mama Giselle allowed Finnegan to nurse; family photos and a videotape show her encouraging him to suckle alongside her litter of five pups. Now, Finnegan mostly uses a bottle, but still snuggles with his ‘siblings’, rolling atop their bodies and sinking in deeply for a nap.
As the puppies grew, they got a bit boisterous for Finnegan, so he found his own ‘safe place’ – a pocket in Debby’s jeans hooked to the back of her bedroom door!
When Finnegan was eight weeks old, Debby felt that he was old enough to be on his own, and began putting him outside. He would run around, but stayed within the confines of the yard, and every night he would scratch at the back door, or at Debby’s daughter’s window to be let in for the night.
One night he didn’t come back, but he did return two weeks later with four other squirrels. He wasn’t seen again until Thanksgiving Day but wouldn’t let Debby touch him. He was wild and free – just what Debby had been hoping for – and doing exactly what he was supposed to be doing!
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all get along like Finnegan and the gang?
Moral of the Story: Keep on loving everyone, even the squirrelly ones!