BETHLEHEM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — At a time when everyone is staying apart, a local family came together to save a tiny life. This is the story of an ordinary squirrel and an extraordinary friendship that started seven weeks ago.
“I was driving to work and I thought I saw a dead squirrel on the road,” Henry Wooster says.
Instead of driving on, he stopped to see a baby squirrel, called a kit. It was still alive, but unconscious and bleeding.
“I’ve always seen things on the internet, people stopping, saving animals,” Henry says. “So, I thought I could do the same, maybe.” He called his mom, Debbie.
“Henry loves his animals and was true to his heart,” she says. She drove over and they cleaned it up, and then sent out a baby squirrel distress call using a smartphone app, hoping to summon the kit’s mother.
“Sometimes they’ll come and retrieve them, but not if they’re injured,” Debbie says of mothers who have lost kits.
When the squirrel mom didn’t show, human mom and the kids—Henry and Debbie—took the helpless baby kit home and welcomed it into their family. “We kept it in a box in our bedroom, and we all took turns holding it and making sure it was ok,” Debbie says.
They called him Nutkin because he loved nuts. As he grew, they moved him to the shed and put branches inside, so it felt like a forest.
‘We wanted to expose him to his natural habitat a little bit at a time,” she says.
That shed was a kind of squirrel school, and he graduated with honors a month later.
Sadly, it was time to say goodbye, and release Nutkin back into the wild.
But Nutkin did something really nutty. “He just never really left us,” Henry says.
“it was kinda crazy, I didn’t expect him to stay,” Phoebe says.
“And there he is, Nutty!” Debbie says as he appears in the tree tops in the Woosters’ yard.
The Woosters and Nutkin forged an unbreakable bond. Every day, Nutkin returns without fail to visit his family, saying hello and thank you.
This pandemic has us all reflecting on what really matters. “It just made us hopeful. It was nice to care for another creature,” Debbie says. “We were like, ‘Yes we can do this.’ We kinda thought, if he can make it, we can make it.”
For this family, saving one tiny life mattered a lot and has made our world a less scary place.
UPDATE: The previous version of this story switched the names for Phoebe and Debbie. NEWS10 regrets the error.