Woman Opens Her Home To A Lonely Butterfly Who Needed A Friend
"When I get him in the morning, he flutters his wings. It reminds me of a dog wagging its tail" ❤️
Every year, when the weather starts to cool, thousands of monarch butterflies begin their winter migration from breeding grounds in Canada to warmer climates down south.
Sadly, however, this particular butterfly was left behind by the rest, having emerged from his chrysalis a bit too late.
He stood little chance of survival by himself amid the growing cold. But he wasn’t alone for long.
Last October, after all the local butterflies had already departed, a friend of Debbie Tonner's found the lonely butterfly lying in her driveway. She contacted Tonner, a butterfly lover, to ask for help. Time, for him, was running out.
"He was in good condition. It was just too cold for him to fly," Tonner told The Dodo. "The weather was getting even colder, so he would have frozen if he were left outside."
Faced with that sad fact, Tonner decided to step in to offer the butterfly the one thing he needed most — hope.
Just in case the butterfly could somehow summon the strength to fly south, Tonner placed him in a tree. But, after finding him there unmoved several hours later, she decided to do more.
Gently, she picked the butterfly up and brought him to the warmth and safety of her own home — starting a sweet friendship that would last for months.
From the very start, Tonner's house was a welcome change for the butterfly. His cold wings started to flutter again, and he received plenty of food to grow strong again.
Tonner also bought him flowers, so he'd feel more at home.
Tonner even gave the little bug something most butterflies never get: a name.
Henceforth, he'd be known as Freddy — the newest member of Tonner's family.
Freddy largely has free rein on the house, able to fly around as he pleases. Though not a conventional pet, he seems to enjoy the company of Tonner and her family — proving himself to have more personality than some people might expect.
"He will land on us," Tonner said. "When I get him in the morning, he flutters his wings. It reminds me of a dog wagging its tail."
Every morning, Tonner prepares a little meal for Freddy. Afterward, he usually flies to his favorite windowsill to warm his wings and soak in the sights of the wintery outdoors.
Though it's far too cold for Freddy to be outside now, the natural world is still something he enjoys.
"He has a squirrel friend that he watches out the window. The squirrel runs back and forth and Fred watches," Tonner said.
But as much as Freddy loves looking out the window, the interest goes both ways.
Word has spread about Freddy among Tonner's neighbors, who are delighted to pay him visits at his window. As the only butterfly still around, he's become a beloved character around town.
"People come to social-distance visit him," Tonner said. "He likes that."
Freddy has it good.
"He's like family," Tonner said. "It is nice to have his company."
Freddy does have one quirk, after getting tuckered out from window gazing, which surely came as a surprise to Tonner.
"Sometimes he likes to sleep with his feet up in the air!" she said. "He's quite comical at times!"
By now, Freddy has lived at home with the Tonners for 13 weeks and seems to have adjusted relatively well to a life spent indoors. But a butterfly's life span is usually only a few months. And Freddy's body has begun to show signs of age.
His wings have become somewhat frayed. His spirit, however, still seems strong.
"So far, he eats well," Tonner said. "His wings have sustained damage, but he seems content."
And of all the sights outside of Freddy's window, Tonner's face still seems to be his favorite.
No matter how much time Freddy has left in the Tonners' loving company, in a way, each moment since being rescued all those months ago has been a gift — and that's something Tonner won't soon forget.
"He seems to have settled into his somewhat unconventional life," Tonner said. "We just enjoy every day with him."