Where I live in NJ, we had a very severe thunderstorm with high winds. Outside the back door, we found a young squirrel dragging it's tiny, rain-soaked body across the path. It's back legs were limp and it was pulling itself from it's front legs, shaking and wimpering. The squirrel was in terrible distress and seemed to be suffering greatly. He was freezing, soaked, and seemed paralyzed in his back legs, perhaps from a fall out of the nest. I called everyone together to decide what to do with the squirrel. Some thought we should let nature take its course. Some thought we should hit it with a shovel. None entertained the idea of actually trying help the squirrel.
Well, I couldn't let it simply suffer and I wasn't ready to hit it with a shovel. I put on some heavy gloves, grabbed some plastic bags, a thick piece of cardboard and some old rags. I managed to carefully move the squirrel onto the cardboard so it would be insulated from the cold ground. I put a layer of cloth, then plastic around its body to keep it warm, being careful not to put it in such a way that the poor thing wouldn't sufficate. Then I put the little guy under a table outside out of the rain. I remembered that squirrels have fast matabolisms and can die of thirst or exposure pretty quickly. Especially a baby. It was late at night, I had no way of safely feeding it and it couldn't lift its head. Then.. it came to me..
"I will nurse him myself, Father," he promised. "I will soak a towel with warm milk, and give him suck from that."
A line from the very first Bran chapter in Game of Thrones when they find the baby direwolves in the snow. I got a thin towel and grabbed some half-and-half, twisted the end into a point shape, and soaked it the milk. Once the baby squirrel got a taste, it latched on and sucked the milk from the towel readily. I kept dripping more half and half on the towel as he sucked. As he sucked on the towel, he started to warm up under all the rags and wraps. He calmed down, clutched at the towel, closed his eyes and made little happy chirping sounds. He stopped shuddering and soon he was so exausted, he seemed to fall asleep. I carefully covered him with a thin part of a rag and went inside. It was 2am. After a little while, I heard it squeeking, I ran to the window and saw a tom cat skulking around. I chased it away and put a bunch of catfood on the opposite side of the yard by the woods where they hang out. I didn't know if the squirrel would die during the night, but at the very least, he was warm, his belly was full, and he was protected from the elements.
So when I got up this morning, I lifted back the covers expecting to see a dead squirrel. To my surprise, he was feisty and even tried to bite me! I was very pleased. I put the cover back down and he was content to say right where he was, hiding in his box. I soaked the towel again, then crushed up some unsalted peanuts in case he was strong enough to eat them and put them close to where his head had been. I then had to go to work, but I called the wildlife rehab as soon as they opened. When the guy got to the house and lifted back the rags, the squirrel got up and started walking around! Amazingly, he wasn't paralyzed after all! He picked up the squirrel and was petting him. He said that the squirrel had a bump on his head, and he probably did fall out of a tree but they were going to bring him back to the wildlife hospital, nurse him back to health and release him. Because I had kept him warm and dry and gave him calorie-rich half-and-half through the night, he survived. If we had left him out in the rain, he would have had a horrible death.
Now, perhaps all this is common knowledge for those of you who live in the country. We don't have a lot of experience with this sort of thing, so I was going on instinct. I would never have thought to feed the squirrel using a towel if I hadn't read it in Game of Thrones, and it was the one thing that calmed it down and gave it some calories to stay warm.
So.. while this is an unusual case, has A Song of Ice and Fire affect your life in any way? Has it inspired you to make a certain decision, or did you learn something that you applied to your day-to-day life? Did a particular character's journey or a passage inspire you, or get you through a particular tough time? Share your stories and inspirations here!
Edited by Moon-Pale Maiden, 13 September 2013 - 03:27 PM.