Gray Squirrel Lives the Life of the Mind
A young and injured gray squirrel was thrust through a KRRC window by a man claiming to have ties to Reed on Monday, Sept. 19. Freshman David Satten-Lopez was told that, in exchange for caring for the squirrel, he would receive a free tattoo. For over two days, the squirrel attended class, studied on the Great Lawn, and slept in the dorms. Although the animal’s wounds were treated, it was brought to the Audubon Society of Portland the afternoon of the 19 the under suspicions of paralysis. When these suspicions were confirmed, the squirrel was euthanized.
Satten-Lopez reports that on the morning of the 17th, he passed a man on the steps of the Student Union holding a bundle of paper towels wrapped around a small squirrel. Satten-Lopez continued into KRRC, put on Curren$y, and worked on his homework.
Not long afterwards, the man appeared outside of the window of the KRRC. He asked Satten-Lopez about his radio show, stating that he used to broadcast hip-hop shows at a Reed station. After Satten-Lopez commented on the squirrel, the man responded that “the little guy got hit by a car.” The man then stated that he had to go to work and was unable to keep caring for the animal, asking Satten-Lopez to take it into his custody. After some hesitation, Satten-Lopez agreed. The man’s parting words were of thanks, telling Satten-Lopez to “hit [him] up for a free tattoo.” Satten-Lopez was handed a card that advertised “affordable tattoos” from “Smiley” at Elephant Smiley Tattoo.
Smiley reports finding the squirrel on Woodstock, and being reminded of time spent DJ-ing for a Reed radio station called CHUD (Cannabalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers). Smiley compared the squirrel in the road to peers who had gone “too far in their quest to reach ‘The Further.’” He says, “When this helpless baby squirrel looked me in the eyes and said, ‘Hey you self-absorbed prick, pick me up and help me, maybe try loving a random being trapped in a world it didn’t create and uses its best to survive in,’” he was compelled to help. “I guess animals don’t wear as many masks as we do even though we all have the same thing in common—the hope for everlasting compassion,” says Smiley.
Satten-Lopez moved the squirrel, who was later named Molly, to a cardboard Dunkin Donuts box, replacing the paper towels, which he felt were improper. Satten-Lopez said that on his way to class, he ran into Emily Zetkulic, who offered her assistance. Zetkulic told Satten-Lopez that she had had experience rehabilitating animals.
At 1:00, Satten-Lopez called the Audubon Society Wildlife Services’ hotline, who reported that because gray squirrels are considered invasive species, they could not treat and rehabilitate Molly. Wildlife Services could only offer to euthanize Molly.
After hearing this news, Satten-Lopez called Zetkulic, who cared for Molly with the help of friend Eileen Vinton for the remainder of the day. Zetkulic and Vinton cleaned the squirrel’s wounds with Neosporin, gave her more bedding, and fed her peach juice from a Dole fruit cup through a dropper. “I brought the dropper from home specifically for helping baby animals,” said Zetkulic. Zetkulic has had experience caring for small animals, most notably three abandoned baby birds this past spring.
On Tuesday, Molly spent the morning with Vinton and the afternoon with Satten-Lopez, attending his Chemistry conference and being fed acorns from a tree outside of Anna Mann. Molly’s caretakers had begun to realize that the squirrel’s back legs were paralyzed, and wanted her to receive medical attention. That afternoon, Satten-Lopez came into contact with two more students who prefer to remain anonymous. One of them had experience aiding wild squirrels in similar situations. With the aid of this other pair of students, Satten-Lopez took Molly to the Audubon Society’s Wildlife Care Center on Wednesday afternoon. Satten-Lopez stated that, prior to the visit to the Care Center, he had decided that should Molly be diagnosed with paralysis, the best decision would be to put her down.
Satten-Lopez reports that when the veterinarian delivered the news and the suggestion that Molly be euthanized, he was “okay with that.” Vinton and Zetkulic reported that they were glad the decision was not theirs, as it would have been too difficult.
Vinton reports that on Wednesday afternoon, she received a text message from Satten-Lopez that Molly had “gone west.” Vinton later saw Satten-Lopez returning to campus holding the now-empty cardboard box and appearing deeply saddened.