Love is all you need…

A Christmas Valentine’s Tale

Last Monday at about 5pm, my office door opens and in pops Lilly’s head. Her face is cloudy but I can almost see the adrenaline rush around in there.


She calls me out to her illegally-parked car and asks me to look in through the passenger side window. Inside a temporary pet carrier, snuggled in the far corner, looking to me like it’s sleeping the long sleep, is a little squirrel. I mean really little. The same kind of squirrel you see scampering up a tree, or sitting there staring at you as you pass by like it’s possessed; the same kind of squirrel you chase off your fruit trees and the same kind you drive past, shielding your eyes from the little display of horror.


This little guy had been wandering around, dazed, on one of the busiest streets in Toluca Lake. Lilly, proper, law-abiding Lilly, stopped her car and got out in the middle of traffic and single-handedly made every car whizzing by stop! She carried the squirrel to her car and came rushing to work. “I didn’t want to be late,” she told me.


She talked and cooed to the squirrel. So afraid and almost sure that it didn’t have very long to live, she called a local pet clinic and begged  them to take the squirrel in so that “at least it will be in a peaceful, loving environment when it takes its last breath.” They told her to bring the little guy in. I so wish you could have seen the relief and joy on her face at that moment.


She took the squirrel in.


The next morning I received this email:

Welll, the squirrel made it through the night and is eating peanuts right now.

[The pet store] has calls in to several wildlife rescue places and he’ll/she’ll eventually be in rehab!

Ha ha ha!  He’s still not well, and may be injured, but he’s still with us.
The pet store named him Charlie.
Charlie. I thought that suited him. Cute and scruffy Charlie. But what I thought and didn’t want to tell Lilly was that even if there were no broken bones Charlie was still likely not going to be with us much longer. A little body as little as that, having sustained such trauma.
Well. I was wrong. Not only is Charlie now called Charlene, but she is with someone Lilly calls the Squirrel Whisperer and is doing so well she will be released into a “tranquil, squirrel-friendly environment” in a few days.
Love saved the day.
Full Disclosure: Squirrel pictured is one of Charlene’s brethren and not Charlene herself.

Go love someone! Anyone!


Filed under The Other Day at Portrait...

7 responses to “Love is all you need…

  1. Lilly

    I was thinking the same thing: he’ll NEVER make it through the night, and if he does, surely not a second night! Thank you for such a beautiful essay, Aida – you are such a fine writer, can’t wait to read a book written by you….

  2. Pam Reynier

    What a Beautiful Story with a Happy Ending, bless you Lilly & everyone else who helped with this ………I love ♥ u Charlene !

  3. Nancy

    Dearest Lilly of the Huge Heart. Thank you, Lilly, for saving Charlene. And thank you, Aida, for sharing this story with us.

  4. Julie von Zerneck

    I love that story. I love that picture. I love the outcome. Thanks for writing about Charlene.

  5. Maggie King

    Beautiful story!

  6. Donna

    Just got back to work and this sweet story greeted me. Thanks Lilly, for all the rescues you do.

  7. Thom

    That sounds about right for the Lilly we all know and love, never passing up an opportunity to do good and make new friends, furry or otherwise. Thanks for the nice story.

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