When a very young squirrel fell from a tree, little did it know that would mark the start of a most unusual relationship.
A woman found the squirrel and its sister lying on the ground. They had fallen about 40 feet out of their nest. The sister was dead.
The woman asked animal lover Debby Cantlon, well known in the Seattle area for nursing injured animals back to health, to care for the squirrel, and Cantlon agreed.
The squirrel was severely dehydrated and suffering from other physical problems when it got to Cantlon, herself a cancer patient for two years. She says she and the critter, which she named Finnegan, are both getting a second chance at life.
Cantlon says she thinks Finnegan survived because it landed on its sister, who died from internal bleeding. "The one sibling saved the life of the other," she says.
Cantlon adds she thinks their mother, who was found nearby, died from poisoning. She notes that many people carelessly put out rat poison and squirrels and other animals eat it.
Taking care of a newborn squirrel requires round-the-clock attention, Cantlon points out. She says she was planning to do whatever she needed to, but she soon discovered she didn't have to go it alone.
When her pregnant pooch, named "Mademoiselle Giselle," saw Finnegan, she pulled him over to her bed, twice, before she had her puppies.
Cantlon says she was concerned about the dog possibly harming Finnegan, now six-weeks old, if she let it out of its cage. "I didn't know if she wanted the squirrel for breakfast, of if she wanted it as a puppy," Cantlon exclaims, but Giselle and Finnegan quickly bonded.
Giselle "adopted" the little orphaned, injured squirrel before she had her puppies and continued to care for it after her litter was born, essentially making Finnegan part of that litter, even letting him nurse along with her pups.
As Cantlon explains to The Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen, Giselle gave birth late one night and, "The next morning, I saw that she was paying more attention to the squirrel (nearby at that point) than she was to her own puppies. She was feeling terribly torn. It was like half of her babies were in one place, and the rest were in another place."
So Cantlon put the squirrel in with Giselle's litter.
Cantlon says she's weaning Finnegan now and feeding him with a bottle. Cantlon intends to teach Finnegan how to eat nuts, and eventually release him back into the wild.
She says squirrels shouldn't be kept as pets.
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