"Hello? This is Linda from Sierra Wildlife; you know, Doug's mom." It took me a minute to process this information. Who was Doug and why was his mother calling me? Oh, right! Back in June, I had rescued the baby ground squirrel down in the barn, named him Doug, and had passed him on to Linda. Linda was calling to report on Doug's progress.
Laughing, she told me that ground squirrels are not known for their personality, but Doug was the exception. Of the six that she is now fostering, one, Emily, actually has bitten her. Doug, on the other hand, always brings a mouthful of bedding as a gift when Linda goes to the squirrels' quarters. The kid obviously recognizes a good thing when he sees it and knows how to work it. He remains the runt of the bunch, but holds his own in the orphanage.
Evidently the rescue service tries to place animals back in the locale where they were found, and Linda asked about my place and if I would like to have him released here. I told her that with the dozens and dozens of squirrels that have pocked my property like the Gaza Strip, one more could make no difference. "Oh, no, that won't do!" Even though there are relatives here, an established colony would kill an intruder, and even his mother wouldn't remember Doug. I can't imagine where the service will find anywhere that isn't already populated by these little boogers, but she said they will find somewhere and set Doug's little band of brothers (and Emily) loose as a group in about a month to begin their own colony.
It was as if my kid had gotten a gold star in deportment on his report card. I'm proud of Doug.