While Peter Wheaton was walking to work one recent morning in Victoria, B.C., he stumbled across an unsettling scene: a murder of crows attacking a baby squirrel on the pavement.
“I could hear this terrible screeching and screaming,” Wheaton said in an interview with the CBC. “Every time they pecked him he screamed again.”
Some passerby may have left the squirrel alone to fend for itself. But Wheaton felt compelled to intervene.
“When you see such a lovely creature like that with no self-defence, I don’t think you can just turn away,” said Wheaton.
So he quickly shooed the cluster of crows away from the squirrel, which was wounded from the attack. He scooped up the squirrel and carried it to his office, and then brought it to the local animal hospital. The hospital then transported it to the BC SPCA Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (Wild ARC), also located in Victoria.
The rehabilitation centre examined the squirrel’s condition and found it had a broken paw and was also suffering from extreme dehydration. And while staff were unsure if the squirrel was going to pull through, it’s doing much better now. Its paw has healed thanks to a small cast, and it’s living with a surrogate mother and even gaining weight.
Before Wheaton dropped the squirrel off at the animal hospital, he and his coworkers gave him a name fit for a fighter: Rocky, after the famed fictional boxer, Rocky Balboa.
“We decided we better call him Rocky because he was hanging in there and doing his best,” says Wheaton.
Wild ARC was founded in 1997 and now treats around 3,000 wild animals each year, currently including a bald eagle, river otters and a baby mink.