My backyard has been set up for outdoor learning, we have many materials and loose parts available for play. Metal grid shelving has been set up to store our supplies where my buddies have easy access to them. My love for animals, and my desire to share this love with my buddies extends to our outdoor area. I have bird feeders set up where we can watch the birds and squirrels who come to visit.
One unfortunate day, Mr. Squirrel was raiding my bird feeders and panicked when I let Tiffany, one of my dogs into the backyard. Tiffany, doing what dogs do, chased the Mr.Squirrel, who nearly ran into the open door of the house before turning and then getting caught in one of our metal shelves.
My buddies heard the commotion and all ran to the door to watch. I called Tiffany in and went out to take in the situation. It was clear Mr. Squirrel was in some trouble. I think that because he had not only put his head through the wire, he had put his front paws, he couldn't get himself back out. He squealed pitiously. Fortunately for him, I had a pair of thick gloves in the shelves just above him. (And fortunately for me, I had my blackberry to snap a picture, too!)
Because my buddies were sitting and watching me from a few feet away, I knew I had to do things just right. There just wasn't room for me to make a mistake when my buddies were there to witness it. I could imagine my buddies going home with visions of the daycare lady being mauled by Mr. Squirrel and then having nightmares for years. Somehow, I didn't think that was going to inspire the affinity for animals that I hope for in my buddies.
I donned the gloves, and carefully approached him, using my best squirrel whisperer voice. My squirrel whisperer voice is a little rusty and I must have offended him because he immediately bit my glove. Fortunately, for me, it was only the glove, and not my finger. I didn't hold it against him, though, I continued my mission, loosening first one paw, then the other. Then I gently pushed his head back out. Now free, Mr. Squirrel immediately scurried away.
Back inside, I was talking with my buddies about the experience and I made sure they knew that the squirrel had bitten me. Although I want them to love animals, I don't want them to go around trying to pet wild animals. As we were discussing it, Mr. Squirrel ran back to the spot in front of our sliding glass doors, and looked in at us. My buddies, the squirrel and I, sat transfixed, paused in time for just a few seconds, acknowledging the event that had just happened. It was as if he was giving us a thank you for the rescue and letting us know he was all right. It couldn't have been a more perfect ending!