Last August on a stormy Kansas night, Tyler Gregory found a little baby squirrel on his property.
The baby had been caught in a thunderstorm and blown far from her nest and mother — so Gregory decided to bring the squirrel inside to warm up.
“She was so tiny that her eyes weren’t even open yet,” Gregory told The Dodo. “We started bottle-feeding her with formula and hoping for the best.”
Every three hours, Gregory and his girlfriend would wake and feed the baby squirrel — and thankfully their schedule allowed for this.
“It helps with our work schedule since I’m a musician and my girlfriend works on her art from home,” Gregory said.
They decided to name the baby squirrel, Annie.
Annie slept in a tiny cage with a heating pad for the first few weeks to keep cozy but soon outgrew her crate.
But just as soon as her eyes opened, the little squirrel wanted more room to roam around — and Gregory obliged.
Gregory then started to take Annie on trips outside where she would crawl on the grass.
It was not long before the baby squirrel tried out her new strength by taking flying leaps from tree stumps and fence posts.
“She was always very attached to us growing up,” Gregory said. “She would enjoy running around the house or running outside, but would always come right to us. Whenever folks would come over, I would have her say hello as she sat on my shoulder.”
And when Annie was not on her dad’s shoulder, she would ride on the back of the dog.
Back in November, Annie climbed her first tree — a sure fire sign to Gregory how she was getting closer to living life out on her own.
But because of spotty weather, their parting was delayed.
“We weren’t able to release her since she was a late bloomer and the winter started hitting hard,” Gregory said. “Her cage was still inside — however, on sunny days we would haul it outside so she could get used to the surroundings.”
Gregory shared how he wanted it to be Annie’s choice to leave the nest, so he began to open the cage door for her.
“We were nervous, but it needed to be done,” Gregory said. “I couldn’t stand seeing her in the cage anymore and she was starting to get wild rather than be a sweet little baby.”
Then, one day in March, he opened the door and Annie ran into the woods.
“I didn’t see her for about a week and got pretty sad that maybe she wouldn’t ever come back,” Gregory said.
But Annie had other plans and swung by home for a free meal and some time with the dog.
“I opened the front door the other day and there she was!” Gregory said. “[She] came up and greeted me on my shoulder.”
“[It] made me very happy,” Gregory posted to Reddit. “I’ve been worried like a parent.”
While they had a quick visit, it meant a lot to Gregory to know that Annie was both happy and healthy.
“She spent some time with us for an hour and then went on her way,” Gregory added. “She has come back every day for a little while to enjoy getting spoiled with nuts and then goes on her way. She seems very happy and enjoys climbing the trees.”
“It warms my heart to know that she roams around but still enjoys home,” Gregory continued.
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