"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Rabbit Saves Chipmunk!

The Chap went up to the Cottage on the Big Lake after lunch. I stayed home at the Lodge on the Little Lake to begin tidying the guest quarters. As things turned out, quite a different guest room was put to use this afternoon.

While sipping afternoon tea and gazing out upon the world, I spotted the brown rabbit in our drive. He was there for a long while, nibbling the grasses. I watched him with my big binoculars, and I stepped out onto the deck to take his photo.

the rabbit who started it all

I kept my eye upon him until he hopped into the brush, out of view. Then I went to the kitchen to heat more water. Waiting for the kettle, I glanced out at the front garden, and behind the rock wall saw a tall stalk of evening primrose or something weedy moving. As if somebody was nibbling on it. Assuming it was the rabbit, I grabbed the camera and went outside, thinking I could sneak up on it and get a good close-up shot.

But when I came around the side of the garden, I saw that it wasn't a rabbit at all.

A baby chipmunk was entangled in the mesh of the deer barrier that protects my roses. In its frantic--and futile effort to get free, it was jiggling against the stalk.


I raced back into the house for a pair of scissors and my garden gloves--to protect myself from chipmunk teeth.

When I returned, the little thing looked up at me, pleading with me to rescue it.

please help me!

As it continued moving about, I carefully cut through the mesh, which had abraded the little legs. I waited for the chipmunk to move away, quickly, but it was obvious it's front leg was injured.

free at last

So, wanting to assess his condition more fully, I scooped him up and placed him in the old aquarium I've previously used for a (successful) baby chipmunk rehabilitation effort. And as I've done before, I placed the new habitat on the kitchen counter (too high up for the dogs to see it) and gave the wee one a little time to adjust.

the chipmunk guest room

Before long, I got out the trusty dropper, and offered some water. That kid was thirsty!

when did you last have some water?

So thirsty that I wondered how long it had been trapped like that.


Interest in food is an excellent sign. He tucked some safflower seeds into his mouth pouch.

inspecting the seeds

Then he started eating them--an even better sign. There was some difficulty in opening the seeds, due to the weak "arm." But at least he got a meal. I went out to gather some acorns...being able to open an acorn is crucial to survival in the wild.

He's napping now, curled in a ball, breathing normally.

I have no idea how this is going to turn out. I hope to release him soon. I wonder if he's a direct descendant of Tarzan, the baby chipmunk I raised by hand--her eyes hadn't even opened when I found her--and eventually released to the wild. The geography of the rescue is about right, but there's really no way to tell.

I never did see that rabbit again, who doesn't even know that he was the catalyst for the rescue!

I may name the chipmunk Tom Robinson, from To Kill a Mockingbird--the first literary character I could think of with a damaged arm. Only Tom didn't have a happy ending. So if anyone can think of a different namesake, please let me know.

Maybe Johnny Tremaine would be better.

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