Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Finnegan the Squirrel


Observer/Donna Johnson of the Tulsa Hawk Forum just sent this lovely e-mail.

Also here is the Snopes link on the story: It is a true story, but it is 3 years old.

So I googled some more and I found this link about his successful release:


(Why does Giselle do it? D.B.)

Debby Cantlon, who plans to release Finnegan, the young squirrel, back into the wild, bottle-fed the infant squirrel after it was brought to her house.

When Cantlon took in the tiny creature and began caring for him, she found herself with an unlikely nurse's aide: her pregnant Papillion, Mademoiselle Giselle.

Finnegan was resting in a nest in a cage just days before Giselle was due to deliver her puppies.

Cantlon and her husband watched as the dog dragged the squirrel's cage twice to her own bedside before she gave birth.

Cantlon was concerned, yet ultimately decided to allow the squirrel out and the inter-species bonding began.

Finnegan rides a puppy mosh pit of sorts, burrowing in for warmth after feeding, eventually working his way beneath his new litter mates.

Two days after giving birth, mama dog Giselle allowed Finnegan to nurse; family photos and a videotape show her encouraging him to suckle alongside her litter of five pups.

Now, Finnegan mostly uses a bottle, but still snuggles with "his siblings" in a mosh pit of puppies, rolling atop their bodies and sinking in deeply for a nap.

Finnegan and his new litter mates, five Papillion puppies,get along together as if they were meant to.

Finnegan naps after feeding.

Finnegan makes himself at home with his new litter mates,nuzzling nose-to-nose for a nap after feeding.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Keep loving everyone . . . even the squirrelly ones.
Here is my question. What cued Giselle to take in Finnegan even before her pups were born?
Dogs have been known to suckle any number of different species of smaller mammals. Is that because if it is, small, warm, hairy, and wiggly (and/or a non-specific vocal cue of any description?), you encourage he or she to nurse? D. B.


sally said...

Poor squirrel can't be released, can it? Wouldn't it be way too likely to be killed by a dog, not having a healthy fear of them? It probably isn't afraid of humans, either?

Donegal Browne said...

Hi Sally,

Thanks for the questions!
For a response see the post of October 29th.