When we think of pets, the first animal that springs to mind is almost always a dog or a cat. Other creatures are rarely domesticated enough to live in the house. Sure, you’ll see a fox or a pigeon kept as a pet every now and then, but they’re definitely not the norm when it comes to a human’s companion!
That didn’t stop one veterinary technician from welcoming an unusual critter into his home after he heard a strange cry near the base of a tree in his yard. He knew that it belonged in the outdoors, but he vowed to nurse it back to health before setting it free again. He had no idea that this decision would change his life forever…
Allen Pursley of Lewisville, Texas, wasn’t looking to add another animal to his home. A veterinary technician, he already owned dogs and spent all day with furry friends—and that was enough! But fate had a way of throwing a wrench into even the best-laid plans…
Allen had noticed a nest in a tree near his home for weeks. One day, he heard a small cry—and he discovered something heartbreaking: a baby squirrel that had fallen from the nest. Allen looked for his parents, but to no avail. The poor squirrel was clearly an orphan.
Allen immediately did some research and, based on the squirrel’s size, he discovered that the little guy was less than a week old. The squirrel was so young, in fact, that he couldn’t even open his eyes yet! He needed help—fast—or else he wouldn’t make it.
Thankfully, Allen knew just what to do. He rushed the squirrel to the clinic where he worked, and he and his fellow veterinary technicians took turns bringing the squirrel home each night. He needed 24-hour care if he was ever going to be released back into the wild.
Eventually, Allen became attached to the critter. He took days off work to stay home with the squirrel and tend to his needs. The poor thing needed to be hand-fed from a syringe, and this was a practice that Allen quickly mastered to feed his new friend.
“I didn’t know what I was doing in the beginning,” Allen recalled. “We were just basically trying to keep him alive.” But as an animal lover with pets of his own, Allen was determined to save this orphaned squirrel!
When the squirrel finally opened his eyes, the first thing he saw was Allen’s face. Allen, who was already feeling intensely devoted to the squirrel now, knew that the feelings were mutual. These two absolutely adored each other!
Allen originally planned to release the squirrel, but he kept pushing back the date. He just couldn’t part with the little guy! Allen and his wife found themselves integrating this “wild animal” into their home with their other pets.
It became clear that the squirrel was going to be a more permanent fixture in their home, so Allen decided he had to give the critter a proper name. He settled on “Rocky,” inspired by the beloved animated flying squirrel from the cartoon Rocky and Bullwinkle.
Many pet owners will give their furry friends several nicknames, and it was no different for Rocky. “I’m sure he also thinks his name is ‘Bad Squirrel’ with as many times as he heard me say it when I was training him to stay off countertops and drapes,” joked Allen.
Allen knew that if he was going to keep Rocky is his home, he’d need to create a space that was all his own. Not only would it make Rocky feel more comfortable, but it would keep him from tearing up their furniture!
Once Rocky reached maturity, he was healthy, happy, and very much a member of Allen’s family. Allen really had to face up to the fact that it might be time to rethink his plans to one day release Rocky…
See, Rocky was healthy and strong and more than capable of climbing around outdoors and doing squirrel things! Still, he was raised in a house as a domesticated pet—and there was no denying the fact that this was one very pampered squirrel.
“By the time he ended up becoming an adult and I looked at releasing him,” Allen said, “I realized I had already done way too much wrong to be able to release him.” Simply put, Rocky was far too used to domesticated life in order to be able to survive among his wild brethren.
So, Allen made the decision to adopt the squirrel as his own pet! Even if rocky could be released into the wild, neither he nor Allen were all too keen on parting with each other anyway. Rocky was a part of the family!
“He doesn’t allow anybody else to handle him,” added Allen. “No one else can handle him—he might be a squirrel but he definitely has the temperament of a cat!” Rocky might’ve been a squirrel, but he sure was cuddly—and cheeky.
However, given plenty of time and lots of love from Allen and his wife, Rocky gradually started to warm up to other people. In fact, he enjoyed nothing more than taking in the view from atop a new buddy’s head!
Although Rocky was a perfectly content indoor squirrel, he still got a real thrill when he spotted other squirrels from the outdoors make their way up to his windows. Was there a chance that they were related?
At first, Allen worried that seeing the other squirrels would upset and confuse his beloved pet. But that wasn’t the case! Rocky liked to look at the squirrels through the glass, though he preferred to stay inside.
Watching squirrels from the window was all well and good, but Rocky’s heart truly belonged to Allen—the man who saved his life. And for Allen, it definitely didn’t get much better than that!
Have you ever heard of anything as sweet as the story of Rocky and Allen? Obviously, when rescuing a wild animal, reintegration into the wild is the goal. But as far as next best options go, this one was pretty darn good!