I rescued a chipmunk the other day

in which I go into exhaustive detail about this 10-minute episode because this was a slow week at the ranch

He was in the pool, and had perched in the little skimmer alcove. He couldn’t push the door open because of the lack of suction, but that’s probably what ended up saving him.

When I took Lula out for her morning tinkle, I went around and scooped all the beetles out of the pool. They fall in and tread water desperately, but since we go out before the pump comes on, I can see their frantic ripples and fish them out.

This day, though, I saw a little something in the skimmer from the other side of the pool. A caterpillar? A feather?

On closer inspection, it was a tail. To a chipmunk I assume must be dead. (He’d be the 3rd one this season.)

I got the skimmer net and one of the max liquidator water shooter things (MLWST), thinking I could poke it through into the skimmer hole, then hoist it out in the basket. But when I poked it with the end of the MLWST, it leapt against the net I was holding over the skimmer hole.

I quickly used the tip of the MLWST to pin his tail to the net and set him down on the pool deck. He limped a couple of steps but mostly sat there, heaving and shaking a little.

He looked wretched. But alive.

First order of business – I ran to get KK so she could see it before it died.

Second order of business – arrange a suitable incubation unit to allow him to warm up/dry off/rest.  I grabbed KK’s future basil flowerpot and our darkest beach towel. Also a bowl of fresh water, because chlorinated pool water is not good to drink.

I scooped him into the flower pot, and he was so pitiful he didn’t even protest, just braced himself while I carried it into the sun. I draped the towel to cover most-but-not-all of the opening, to give him privacy and protect him from predators.

I also asked KK to bring me a stick of string cheese because I was hungry, but I bit off a couple of pieces and tossed them into the flower pot, too, with the reasoning that he’d been cold and swimming and had likely burned through all his easy calories.

The hardest part was leaving him alone to die or recuperate.One or the other of us ended up checking on him every half hour or so. To our amazement and, he did dry out, and he didn’t die. 

And after about 3 hours, when we went out to check before lunch, he was gone, and so were all the cheese pieces.


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