Wednesday, August 27, 2014

CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL: Caretaker cat saves baby squirrel

By AMY NEWMARK, Chicken Soup for the Soul | 5/5/2014

Many pets help their owners take on new hobbies, such as running. Mitzi Boles’ cat, India, surprised everyone by turning her owner into an official wildlife rehabilitator.

As Mitzi wrote in her story “A Path From India,” published in our book on lessons learned from our cats, it all started when India came into the house and dropped at Mitzi’s feet her gray chew toy. At least that’s what Mitzi thought it was when she picked it up. Then it started squirming.

Many pets help their owners take on new hobbies, such as running. Mitzi Boles’ cat, India, surprised everyone by turning her owner into an official wildlife rehabilitator.

As Mitzi wrote in her story “A Path From India,” published in our book on lessons learned from our cats, it all started when India came into the house and dropped at Mitzi’s feet her gray chew toy. At least that’s what Mitzi thought it was when she picked it up. Then it started squirming.

It turned out it was a hairless baby squirrel, unhealthy and clinging to life. Mitzi thought for sure it wouldn’t survive, but after she got a nursing kit from a pet store, she was able to bring it back to health. Eventually she raised the squirrel as a pet, alongside its other loving caretaker, India.

The experience of caring for the squirrel had been a joy, so Mitzi enrolled in wildlife rehabilitation classes, obtained a license in wildlife rehabilitation and began bringing animals into her home for care and release.

India became Mitzi’s partner in care. She would sometimes scratch the door to alert Mitzi to an animal in distress. Mitzi’s rehabilitation practice grew to the point that veterinarians and the general public began bringing her injured or sick wild animals. Mitzi was fond of all of them in part because she realized that “if a cat could love a squirrel, I could love anything.” That astonishing cat, normally a feared predator, had become a “search and rescue” hunter instead.

Syndicated by Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, online at www.chickensoup.com

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