|Explanation to follow . . .|
We called some local pest control company and they came out, inspected the house for entry points, blocked up all but one hole, and put a trap over that remaining hole. Coryn nervously approached the man who did the inspection/trap installation and asked what he would do with the squirrels and he assured her they would be released in the country. The next evening we went out and there was a squirrel staring at us from the trap. The pest control man came and collected it and put up another trap in case there were more. We were still hearing scratching occasionally so we thought it was only a matter of time until the rest of them joined their friend.
Then today, two days after the first squirrel departed, Matt and Claire were both napping in the downstairs bedroom when I heard her crying. I went down to find Matt holding her.
"The squirrel woke her up!" he frowned.
Apparently he had heard a squeaking noise coming from the bathroom between our room and Claire's room and had gone to investigate and found a small, juvenile squirrel sitting behind the bathroom door. There was a chase and the squirrel was shoved out the back door but not before Claire heard the scuffle. He opened the back door to see if the squirrel was nearby and it hadn't moved an inch. I squealed because the dang thing was super adorable. Caen heard the noise, ran into the room, and the squirrel dashed back into the house and under Claire's crib.
Of course, Matt blamed me for the reentry. Caen wormed his way under the crib and cornered the squirrel who froze making it easy for me to nudge it into a shoe box and take it outside.
I put it in our neighbor's yard because he has a tree and he doesn't have a German Shepherd. I watched until the little creature scurried into a bush and considered the matter done with (it was obviously a young squirrel but not young enough, I thought, that it wouldn't be able to find its own way in our reasonably tame neighborhood and warm climate), but at dinner we glanced outside and saw Caen nuzzling something repeatedly. The squirrel had returned (our yard is fenced, so Caen hadn't gone into the neighbor's yard to get it; the squirrel had to have come back of its own free will.) and our German Shepherd was happy to see it.
If you saw my post of a few days ago you know that Caen is very capable of killing a small rodent. He didn't, however, appear to want to kill this squirrel. The creature was downtrodden, dirty from being slobbered on and rolled in the dirt, and felt cold to the touch, but it was very much alive. I wrapped it in a towel and put it in a shoe box to recover.
Matt grumbled about me harboring an enemy "tree rat" and threatened to do away with it when I turned my back, but he very kindly helped me put together a squirrel recovery kit with a small dish of water and a cracker with some peanut butter (both of which I learned later are actually mistakes when dealing with squirrel emergency care). I had a MoPs event to attend so it was my hope that it would rest, eat something, drink something, and be ready to release when I got home, but when I did get back it appeared to not have improved at all. It lay curled in a ball exactly as I had left it but still cold and shivering. I tried to warm it up by cupping it in my hands for awhile (I may have snapped a few pictures at this point; I couldn't resist) and then googled squirrel care.
I found out that it was a good thing that the squirrel had ignored our hospitality because apparently eating and drinking while cold can be fatal for a squirrel. What needed to happen was the squirrel needed to be warmed up and then given some water (it said with a syringe but I don't keep those around the house generally), so out came the heating pad and we patiently waited for some signs of life. After about a half hour the critter sat up and looked around. Squirrels are surprisingly gentle at this age. It let me hold it and clung carefully to my hand. I gave it some water using an inch I cut out of a drinking straw, holding my thumb over one end and putting the other end in its mouth. It drank for a bit then looked up and squeaked loudly three times in a row. It wouldn't take any more water after that so back in the box (Now heated) it went.
I have since then found a wildlife rescue station in my area who I am hoping to drop it off at tomorrow. I hope it makes it because Coryn has named it Buttercup and I'd hate to say a sad good-bye.
Read the end of the squirrel story here.