Squirrel Still Comes Back To Visit The Family Who Saved Her 7 Years Ago
“Bella sits right at the front door waiting for someone to notice she has come by for a visit.”
When Bella was just 4 weeks old, she was attacked by an owl and left very badly injured. There was no way she could have survived in the wild with those injuries, and luckily, a wildlife rescue group found her and took her in. The group placed her with Brantley Harrison and her family, who help rehabilitate animals — and they had no idea when the little squirrel arrived just how much she was about to change their lives.
Bella came to Brantley Harrison in October 2009, and since she wasn’t old enough to be released back into the wild before winter hit, she stayed with Harrison until spring, and was raised along with three other squirrels: Larry, Moe and Curly. The four little squirrels lived together in an outdoor release cage, being fed formula, fruits and veggies, and lots of nuts. While she was being rehabilitated, there didn’t appear to be anything particularly special about Bella. She acted just like every other squirrel Harrison had cared for, and she figured once she was released back into the wild, that would be that.
“Her personality was not any different than any other squirrel I have ever raised while she was in my care,” Harrison told The Dodo. “The main objective is to return them all back into the wild so I never treated her like a pet. She acted no different than the others.”
That April, Bella and the three other squirrels were finally ready to head back into the wild. They excitedly scurried up and down trees, so eager to explore their new surroundings. Within the week, all four squirrels were safely assimilated back into the wild — but Bella wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the family who had raised her just yet.
“She started to come back for a treat or two within days of being released,” Harrison said. “The others came back too for a few days which is very typical and then after a week or so they usually stop coming by and getting close to you. Bella sits right at the front door waiting for someone to notice she has come by for a visit. She has even resorted to jumping over to the dining room window to peer in for someone to see her.”
It’s been over seven years since Bella was released back into the wild, and she still comes back to visit the family who saved her almost every day. Every time she comes by she hangs out for a bit, sitting on her family members' laps and happily accepting lots and lots of nuts. She doesn’t really like to be pet, but she loves being near her people, and they love her visits just as much as she does.
“My husband will be running late for something and rushes out the door to be greeted by her and he HAPPILY runs back inside to the big bowl of walnuts we leave by the front door to grab a handful and goes back out to spend some time with her,” Harrison said.
Bella has become like a member of the family, and a few years back, her human family got to meet her squirrel family for the first time. Bella injured her foot somehow, and so her family caught her again, gave her antibiotics and put her back in one of their rehab cages so she could heal. She was almost ready to be released back into the wild when one day, she gave birth to three tiny babies, forcing her human family to care for the little squirrel family until the babies were old enough to be released.
“It was truly amazing to watch the baby I raised raise her own babies,” Harrison said.