It happened back when I was a freshman. I went to the same school as my older sister, one of those very prestigious women's colleges with a large sprawling campus covered in gothic architecture and giant oak trees. Our dorm was on the edge of campus, far enough from everything that the area felt more rural than urban: badgers, squirrels, raccoons, woodchucks, song birds and even a few hawks all could be seen flitting around. One day my sister was walking back from class when she saw a baby squirrel lying abandoned in a nest on the ground by one of the huge oaks.
Despite some well meaning city dweller's insistence that the mother would come back for her baby, my sister was pretty well convinced he was going to be hawk food before zombie mom rose to take care of her offspring, and while Mainers tend to be the practical sort, who understand the circle of life, no one can abandon a baby. It's hardwired into us: Protect Babies. So she picked up the tiny squirrel, so young his eyes were still closed, and brought it back to her dorm room.
The infant squirrel was shivering with cold and was going to need constant care. Luckily, at the time, I had a bad cold and was running a high fever. I was sleeping on her floor, in order that she could keep an eye on my condition, and thus she knew exactly how to keep that tiny little ball of fluff warm.
Me and the squirrel spent the whole day curled up together, the baby enjoying the inferno radiating from my body. The next day when my sister brought the squirrel to the local wild life rehabilitation center they were impressed to no end. "How did you keep the little fellow so warm?" She kept being asked. Apparently most animals taken from their mothers so young don't even survive the night.
The squirrel grew up strong and healthy and was released back into the wild to roam the oak trees and live out his little rodent dreams.
He was just one small life in a species that believes in survival by numbers of offspring, but all the same it's nice to know we saved a baby and made a difference to him.
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