If there’s one thing that Patty Robinson wants people to know about living with a wild animal, it’s this: “Squirrels do not make good pets. They’re messy, expensive, they can bite, they need their own room, etc.”
In spite of that caveat, for the past six years Patty has shared her home with Bunk, a squirrel she rescued when he was just a tiny, orphaned baby in her backyard.
“He wouldn’t leave and I was not going to give up on him!” said Patty, who lives with Bunk and her other pets in Boston, Massachusetts.
Her journey with Bunk started when she noticed something moving around in the grass in her backyard. Upon inspection, she found a tiny infant squirrel, but there was no mother anywhere to be found. As a self-described caretaker and animal lover, Patty knew the moment she set eyes on him that she’d nurse the baby to adulthood herself, then set him free when he was old enough.
She called him Bunk, since he’d be bunking in with her. Little did she know, however, that Bunk had no intention of ever leaving his new human mama!
Patty set to work doing research on hand-raising squirrels. She was surprised to find that a lot of the information available on the internet isn’t actually correct. As she got to know him, she realized squirrels are much more resourceful and social than most people think.
“Squirrels eat so much more than just acorns,” Patty explained. “They eat lots of vegetables and fruits. Squirrels do not carry rabies; they can’t even get rabies. Squirrels are more social than people. They are amazing builders, and plant thousands of trees every year. They are extremely family-oriented.”
When the time was right, Patty attempted to return Bunk to the wild.
“I did free Bunk – he was gone for five days!” she said. “He returned scared, growling.”
The squirrel mom tried to release Bunk three more times after that failed first try, but each time, he came back. That’s when Patty realized her furry roomie was here to stay! She decided to devote an entire room in her home to Bunk, creating a giant squirrel’s nest so that he can run, jump, climb, and sleep in a habitat similar to one he’d have outdoors.
Plus, Bunk has a say in every item she adds to his nest. Some things he rejects, other items he clearly adores. Patty says he even gives her the stink eye if she tries to clean up or rearrange his precious belongings!
Patty says living with Bunk has been “a blessing” that has taught her to be more connected with nature. While he’s free to go whenever he likes, he chooses to stay, and that means the world to her.
Don’t forget to share Patty’s journey to adopting Bunker with a friend.
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