I was going to write a short, simple post about myself today, but something more interesting happened.
I was at an English-teaching conference all weekend. As I was leaving on Saturday morning, I saw a dead squirrel outside, under a tree. How sad! Then, Saturday evening, I heard a strange noise. We looked outside and saw a small squirrel running around and making this unhappy, strange noise.
We realized that the dead squirrel must have been a mother squirrel, and the small squirrel must have been her baby. However, it wasn’t really small. It was more like a “teen squirrel” than a baby squirrel. We thought maybe it would be okay, even though it was an orphan now. We know you shouldn’t feed wild animals, but we decided to put out some water (because it’s been dry recently) and some pine nuts (because they didn’t have any salt or artificial stuff in them).
On Sunday morning, before I went to the conference, we saw two small squirrels. They were running around on our patio and still making the unhappy noise. I said “Uh-oh…I wonder if there are more?”
When I came home Sunday afternoon, there was a third squirrel, too! They were climbing around a little bit. My husband went out to look at them, but they didn’t seem to be very good at hiding. One squirrel was not very sure about what to do around humans. That’s not good, because it means it could be hurt by humans or cats. (And a cat came by and looked at them! Oh no!)
Their nest seems to be near our door. One tried to climb into the nest and it fell! It lay on the sidewalk, and we just stood there. We didn’t know what to do. Finally, it blinked and started to move slowly. Then it got up. We were so relieved that it was alive. However, we were also worried. If they were not strong enough to climb into their nest, maybe they weren’t old enough to live on their own. Also, even though the squirrel who fell was moving, it might still be hurt inside.
I decided to use Google and search for a wildlife rescue group. I found the Ohlone Humane Society Wildlife Rescue. Since it was Sunday, I didn’t think they would be open. I was so surprised when their phone message said “We are open every day…” I left a message and they called back in 15 minutes! A nice woman said “Put on some gloves and try to catch the squirrels. If you can catch the squirrels, then they are too young to live by themselves. If they are old enough, they’ll be able to run away easily.” Oh…okay!
So my husband put on some dishwashing gloves (really!) and tried to catch them. The two squirrels who were together in the patio ran away. The other squirrel (the who had fallen down earlier) just “hid” in the middle of the sidewalk. (Not so smart.) It was shivering and looked so scared! My husband put a sheet over it and put it in a box. We drove it to the rescue center. I said, “Do not let it out of the box in the car!” He said, “I know! We could die.” Haha … I was worried that the squirrel would escape from the box while I was driving.
The rescue center was kind of far away. When we got there, we knocked on the door. The woman we had talked to before opened the door, and we brought in the squirrel. She told us that they would take care of it that night. She said that on Monday morning, a vet tech (a kind of animal doctor) would see it. After it’s healthy and grown up, they’ll take it somewhere it can live and let it go. We were so happy that they were there to help us. I know it’s just a squirrel, and there are a lot of squirrels in the world. But usually, when we see an animal who needs help, we think “I can’t help…” This time, we were able to.
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They’re still running around my patio…They’re cute, but I hope they don’t live there forever!
“Rescue” (v./n.): When someone or something is in trouble and needs help, that help can be called a “rescue.” It’s usually used for very serious help, like saving someone’s life. Sometimes we use it for other things, mostly as a joke. Ex. “Thanks for rescuing me from that guy who wouldn’t stop talking to me!” (This use is mostly a joke.) “This morning, two firefighters rescued a woman from a car that fell into a river.” A wildlife rescue organization is a charity/volunteer group that helps hurt, lost, or orphaned wild animals.
“Was going” (v. phrase): In spoken English, this phrase usually means that I had some plans to do something, but my plans changed. I didn’t really mean to change my plans. It just happened. Ex. “I was going to study for the test yesterday, but my friend called me from Korea and we talked for three hours.” “We were going to make spaghetti for dinner last night to save money, but then Shuji said he’d heard about a really good new ramen place, so…” The pattern is often “I was going to [do A], but [B happened], (so/and I didn’t/couldn’t do A after all).” We don’t always say the “so I didn’t…” part. It’s just understood by the listener.
“Realize” (v.): To suddenly begin to understand something. It’s hard to explain the difference between “understand” and “realize,” but “understand” would sound strange here.
“Orphan” (n./v.): An orphan is a child whose parents have died. Lots of books and manga are about orphans. One famous orphan from Japanese manga is Candy. We can also use it as a verb: ex. “The squirrels were orphaned.”
“Nest” (n./v.): We usually use this word to talk about the bowl-shaped thing made of sticks and leaves that birds live in. However, squirrels make something kind of like that, except bigger, so it’s also called a nest in English.
“Relieved” (adj.): To feel good or relaxed because you don’t have to worry about something anymore.
“On their own (adv.): “On your own” means independently. This could mean by yourself, without someone else paying your bills, or without being taken care of by a parent or caretaker. The meaning depends on the context. Ex. “It’s not safe for you to live on your own while you have this medical condition.” “I started living on my own as soon as I graduated from high school.” “The kittens can’t find food on their own.”
“Shiver” (v./n.): To shake from cold or fear. Usually used as a verb: ex. “Hurry up and turn on the heat! I’m shivering!” Sometimes used as a noun, especially in the phrase “the shivers.” Ex. “That movie didn’t make me scream, but it did give me the shivers.”
“Escape”(v./n.): To get away from a dangerous or bad situation; to get away from a person who is trying to stop you; to get out of somewhere you have been caught; to avoid something bad that was going to happen. The basic meaning is “to get away” or “to get out.” Ex. “Is ‘Prison Break’ about people trying to escape from prison?” “I was trying to wash my cat, but she escaped every time I caught her.” “Some people think you can’t escape your fate, but I think I control my own fate.” “My boss tried to send me on that work trip, but I was able to escape by telling him my son is sick.”
If you have any questions or comments, please leave a comment!