Winston came to me in May of 2020. My friend was visiting the ranch with her dog who caught Winston and brought him back to her. He was so tiny. We didn’t expect him to live, but we put him in a box with a blanket to rest. When I went to check on him an hour later, he was alive. Unfortunately, he had an injured leg and his face was starting to swell.
With the local rehabber not accepting animals, I turned to the internet for advice. I discovered he was about four weeks old, which means it’s more likely his mom was moving him to a safer location when the dog found them, as he wasn’t old enough to be out of the burrow just yet. It wasn’t until the next day that I was able to get a hold of some formula. I was so happy to see he made it through the night. He immediately gobbled up his formula and really just came to life.
Within a few days, he really started to show us who he was, which was a really confident little monster. I tried to take him to where he was caught in hopes of reuniting him with his family, but I didn’t know exactly which borough and he didn’t want to leave my side. So I figured we’d continue to take this day by day. And when he was older, we would try again. When he got older, he started wanting out and he gave it a really good go as a wild squirrel. But he never burrowed and each morning. I’d find him farther and farther away from my home and closer to my neighbor’s traps.
California ground squirrels are not protected and considered agricultural pests. So, most ranchers and farmers trap and kill them. When I’d finally find him each morning, he was always eager to see me. And he was always thirsty and hungry. I finally decided I’d had enough and brought him home where he has been living inside since. When he was out, I did notice that he’d shown a big interest in rabbits. So I decided to rescue a young rabbit that was being raised for meat. as a companion for Winston.
Artemis was an instant hit and they have been friends since. They both live cage-free and yes, they are both litter trained. Winston is not much for the snuggles, but every now and then I am blessed with a wonderful cuddle session. Mostly, Winston prefers to share space next to me, grooming or looking out the window. He always loves to play and beat up different toys. He is convinced he is the toughest squirrel that has ever lived. He also has been showing a lot of interest in solving treat puzzles. He’s also a big nut hoarder and actually organizes his stashes by types of nuts. Winston isn’t even a year old yet, and I’m excited to spend many more years with him. He truly has become such an integral part in making sure I get my daily dose of laughter.