Earlier this year, when photographer Nick Radford was taking pictures in a wooded area near his California home, he discovered an abandoned baby squirrel that was starving, dehydrated, and half frozen.
Fearing that a vet would euthanize the tiny animal, he brought it home, where he and his wife nursed it back to health by constructing a makeshift heated nest and feeding it formula from a special syringe.
Even before the tiny squirrel’s eyes opened, Nick took the bold step of introducing it to his two dogs so they could get used to their new guest. Maverick, half Australian cattle dog and half border collie, and Scout, an Australian shepherd, were immediately smitten with their visitor, and they kept a constant watch over their new charge.
Though he was initially concerned about the squirrel’s safety around the dogs, he was floored by how gentle they were with their new friend. “They are gentle and nice to him because I am,” he told the Reddit community, where he first posted the pictures below. “They know that they’re to follow my lead.”
As the pictures show, the newly named Apple Moonbeam and the two dogs became fast friends. “They lick him non-stop,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s an instinct thing or a confusion thing.”
Now that the squirrel is growing, Nick’s next challenge is to try to reintroduce it to the wild. He hopes to start by using an open cage in his yard, where the squirrel will be able to find food but also come and go as it pleases.
Pics courtesy of iamcleverhoneybadger on Reddit.
Nick found the baby squirrel curled up and frozen in the woods.
To transport the squirrel home, Nick placed it in the hood of his jacket in his car’s cup holder.
He fashioned a makeshift nest using paper towels and a heating pad.
The tiny squirrel drank formula from a special syringe.
Nick introduced the squirrel, now named Apple Moonbeam, to his dogs, Maverick and Scout.
Maverick investigates his tiny new friend.
The squirrel showed no fear around the dogs.
Eight months after Nick first shared the pictures with the Reddit community, the squirrel and his canine companions went viral.