Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ringer's Solution and Whipping Cream

Oscar has several experts involved in his case. Not case-managers, per se, but people who are interested in his welfare. Squirrel expert, Lynne, mentioned that he is not putting on weight and growing fur in keeping with his month-old age and suggested that I beef-up his formula with cream. I don't get cream in my coffee but Oscar is fattening up on a dollop added to his formula

Look at the fat little belly now! And note how his features and tail are taking on squirrel characteristics. He no longer looks like a baby Boxer.

In the photo above, he is flaked out in May-Lo's warm, cosy hand. (May-Lo, prettier sister to J-Lo, of course.). She  brought Oscar some important Ringer's saline solution, which is also mixed with his formula to keep his kidneys perking along. Ringer's was invented by British physiologist, Sydney Ringer (1836-1910).

Something Else the Cat Dragged Home

I'm not raising it beautiful as it is.

Look at the detail on the wings.

Movie Perils

Tried to up-load movie of Oscar dining but there are technical difficulties. Worked the first time....

Meanwhile, Oscar and I enjoyed a day in the Quebec countryside yesterday and we are off to Almonte later today.

What a little world-traveler he is!

I'll try the movie again once I get tech-support up and at 'em.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Back in the Gatineau, QC

Oscar and I spent the day in the Gatineau, up Highway 148, close by to Shawville, outside of Luskville.

He enjoyed his stay and I brought his heating pad this time so he didn't have to stay in the car.

This the other thing, usually, we travel in a Dodge Caravan which is a smooth vehicle. This time, we were in an old MG. Loud, breezy and rocky. He was OK, good little trooper that he is.

Later today, expect more video of Oskee.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Oscar is Learning to Crawl

Wow, look at the little dickens go!

New skills for Oscar and me.

A Sunbeam Shines on Oscar

As Oscar napped after a mid-morning drink of water, I am hydrating him every few hours using an electrolyte solution and tap water, a sunbeam streamed through the kitchen window and touched his somewhat furry little head.

Oscar Makes the Front of the Fridge

He's not exactly a popular fridge magnet, not yet, at least, but he made the front of my fridge after I printed out the first hard copy photo of him. He joins a cadre of other actors, bad and otherwise.

The Wawa Goose and Missing Linc seen with Mardi Gras model.
 She's the Good Girl Gone Bad.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Oscar's New Cage

Fairly soon, Oscar will need to be in a different sort of container. The aquarium will be all right for a couple weeks longer but he'll need more room along the way. Here's what I have in mind, as long as he can't squeeze through the bars.

Or perhaps, this cage will take the place of the laundry hamper that is now inverted over his glassed-in home.

Meanwhile, did I mention that I woke to the sound of him chirping this morning. Sure made the cats sit up and take notice.  I wonder if they thought it was a kitten or a bird?

Oscar enjoyed being held by a friend who visited him for the first time this evening. Some people are squeamish about holding him but this was not a problem. He fell right asleep in Janet's hands.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sacked-out After Trip to Almonte

Oscar visited Almonte today and dined al fresco on the front steps. I kept him wrapped in his fake fur blanket as he likes it warm and there was a bit of a breeze blowing.

Back home, and half an hour to his midnight feeding, he is sound asleep, ignoring the world. You wouldn't know that there is a squirrel in the picture.

But yes, there is, one very sleepy little rodent. Must have been the fresh country air.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Fur on Oscar's Ears and Perfect Feet

As Oscar grows, there are daily changes. He still looks like a baby dragon but he is getting some squirrel-distinguishing-marks.

For instance his perfectly-formed paws, including a thumb, are well-developed and one can see how these creatures manage to be superb climbers with claws that are almost half the size of each digit.

And something that isn't readily apparent when looking at him during feeding, he is getting fur on his ears and the fur on his muzzle is filling out. And look at his long whiskers!

He also appears to have the beginnings of furry growth along his back. Looks like he may be a black squirrel as there does not appear to be any gray fur coming in.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Oscar's first Babysitting Experience

New hands handled Oscar at noon today and he was fine. It was the longest time he'd gone in between feedings and he was frantic for food. The first photo make it look like he was channeling the Munch poster in the background. Despite it being an hour before feeding currently, I am going to go ahead so that I can get some much-needed sleep. It was an intense day of packing and unpacking the van and being "on" all day at the Minto Park Art Show.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Oscar Needs a Baby Sitter

I'm at the Urban Art Show @ Minto Park all day and am wondering how I am going to feed His Nibs at noon and four. Hmmm, I'm sure this'll all be figured out later this evening.

Meanwhile, I believe that Oscar is 20 days old, and it's his 18th day living on the kitchen table. I think he's liking it.

He's just starting to crawl and we have the turquoise blue carpet rolled out for him here. 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 17 and Oscar's Doing Great

He really is. His skin is changing from pink to the pre-fur colour of grayish-black as he develops more squirrel traits such as whiskers and a furry muzzle.

Here he is, just hanging out on my thumb.

And below, Oscar's baby-on-a-bearskin shot.

Sometimes, it's hard from photos to gauge his actual size. Below, a comparative shot of Oscar and a man's index finger.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My How Oscar has Grown!

Leaps and bounds, I'd say. When I look at photos taken two weeks ago, he was just a little "pinky" about the size of the first joint of my thumb but today, he's over four inches long and not that pink any more.

In fact, his fur should start to come in soon as his skin is changing colour and there is a black ring around his muzzle.His entire head is quite black, in fact. Given the plethora of black squirrels in Centretown, Oscar is probably one them. There are gray squirrels frolicking in the trees behind my house so there's an off-chance that he may have gray fur.

This is like waiting to tell if it's a boy or a girl.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Oscar does Laundry

Just like with babies everywhere, there is always laundry. After a busy weekend in Almonte, the little stack of formula-covered bedding had grown and like families around the world, the beginning of the week is for laundry.

The feeding schedule was a little skewed these past couple of days but we are back on sked now and he'll be ready for his 4:00 p.m. feeding momentarily.

Meanwhile, he sleeps oh-so peacefully...just like a baby.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Not Oscar but he'll look like this one day soon.

Oscar, Back in Almonte

Family reunion in Almonte and Oscar, of course, had to come along. He really has no choice in these things at this point. Since he's on a three or four hour feeding schedule, he comes along if I'm not going to be home in time to feed him. He's a good traveler, however.

Here is a photo of him having a meal in Almonte.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Oscar Speaks!

Well, OK, he vocalized. For a little being that neither sees nor hears, and pretty well eats, sleeps and excretes, this is a red-letter day for he actually started to chirp at noon to announce that he was hungry. He's on a four-hour schedule now and eats double what he used to with the three-hour and way more than the two-hour schedule.

I was working at my desk and heard what sounded like a bird and immediately thought, "What have the cats brought home now?" But they were conspicuously not present when I walked into the kitchen. However, Oscar was moving about his aquarium home and making anxious, no doubt, frustrated trilling sounds.

This is, technically, not the first time he's made a sound. When the cat ran by me with him in his mouth that first day, July 6, he was squeaking, probably out of fear and pain as the cat left puncture wounds in his neck.

The photo below shows how I know that this is Oscar and not Oscarina. If you look at his face, you will see how well his whiskers are developing.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

New Housing for Oscar

After yesterday, when Oscar climbed out of his plastic dish, this was an indication that he is becoming more active so needs a new cage.

Fortunately, I have an unused small aquarium and this was set up last evening to house baby Oscar. He appears to like it; bit more room and the heat from the heating pad underneath is better contained.

 He's not a fish but he sure looks swimmingly at home.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Oscar enjoyed the Gatineau

He can't see and he can't hear and he can't talk but he didn't protest in any way so I expect he did OK being taking on a 100 km round trip almost to Shawville, QC.

He may have got a bit warm in the van and I was surprised, at one point, when I went to check on him and he'd crawled from his plastic container, possibly seeking cooler climes.

I immediately hydrated him with some electrolyte solution and formula and I moved the van to the shade and he was fine. The door and window were open but I guess it's as the Humane Society warns, do not leave your animals in a hot vehicle. He was fine but I think he taught me a lesson.

No photos taken in the Gatineau of Oscar. Next time.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

World-traveller, Oscar heads back to Gatineau tomorrow

Tomorrow, Oscar and I are back in Gatineau for the day. This means packing his diaper bag with formula, Q-tips, wipes and a bottle filled with hot water that keeps him warm in the van. It's at times such as these that I wish I have the 1970 VW Westphalia I used to call my most hilarious vehicle. It came with a lengthy, thick extension cord that plugged into110 and activated a electrical outlet in the van. If I had the VW, I could simply bring the heating pad and not worry about keeping him at a constant temperature.

At home, as an extra precaution, I place a strainer over the plastic container over which I put a laundry basket. The photo above shows how peaceful he sleeps. Below, he is awake and stretching towards where he figures food might appear. This shot certainly shows his large cranial development and demonstrates, with the darkening of his skin, that he is leaving the "pinkie" stage and will soon start to sprout fur.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Oscar is Growing

Two hours before the next feeding and Oscar is napping. He actually falls asleep in my hand after his "bottle" and when I put him down in his plastic box, he flakes out, only squirming and protesting as I try to stimulate him into having a bowel movement. Oh, the joys of being a squirrel mom!

Here he is yawning awake for one of his afternoon feedings.

Resident squirrel expert, Lynne, brought over some hydration fluid and I am mixing a little in with the formula. He doesn't seem to be constipated any more but I don't want to take any chances.

You'll recall in an earlier post, seeing a photo of the squirrel beside a Pink Pearl eraser, or at least, what we used to call a Pink Pearl eraser. He was smaller than it.

In this next photo, you will see how much he's grown in just over a week. And Lynne says it appears that he's getting some fine hairs growing along his spine and on his face. I have to admit, he does seem to be taking on less of a pink wrinkled appearance and one where he seems to be turning gray. I do not know if Oscar is a gray, black or brown squirrel, there are so many in my neighbourhood, he could be any variety. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cute, He is Not

We are on to Day Eight and Oscar is not getting any better looking. Perhaps when he starts to sprout some fur, maybe in another week or so, he'll start to look like a squirrel and not like some forlorn marsupial escaped from its mother's pouch.

I have been concerned that he's may be constipated so have been thinning his formula to provide more hydration.

Lynne, an expert on the raising of baby squirrels, says he may need some electrolytes and has offered me some fluid, lactated ringer solution, that will help. She also forwarded me a pdf of a squirrel manual which I am finding very helpful.

Thank-you to the many people who have offered advice over the past week. I certainly appreciate it.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday, Day Seven

Our routine is established and Oscar knows it well. I believe I heard him squeak a little this afternoon when I was slightly tardy in feeding him.

I notice new things about him every day. For instance, the umbilicus has fallen off at some point over the past while and his ears, once a seamless part of his skull, they have popped out and are flexible.

He gains strength hour by hour but is uncoordinated when placed on a surface, forever falling over and waving his limbs in the air. His head seems to be the heaviest part of his body. His tail, still rat-like.
In the photo to the right, you may be given a correct impression that he is willful as he tries to pull away from the cocoon I hold him in for feeding. He shows no sign of growing fur but his eyes are showing characteristic slits that precede opening although it will be several weeks before they are fully open and he sees clearly. Right now, he is still blind and he finds the end of the syringe using his sense of smell 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Oscar does Almonte

Almonte, about 45 minutes from Ottawa and where I was spending the afternoon, supper and early evening. I packed Oscar's diaper bag at 3:00 p.m. and off we went.

Much to-ing and fro-ing in Almonte, plants to pot, bicycles to ride, meals to prepare, so Oscar was left to his own devices. Still, feedings occurred regularly and if I wasn't available, my sister did the honours.

Here's a photo she took of Oscar actually eating. He slurps milk directly from the end of the syringe. Note his tiny ears, now separated from his head, an indication that he is almost two weeks old. And can you see his minuscule whiskers? Click on the photo to enlarge it.

At each feeding, he eats about double the amount that's left in the syringe. When he's sated, he simply falls babies everywhere.

Oscar on GB GP Day

He didn't come with me this morning to the amazing Gran Prix brunch as I was able to time his 6:00 a.m. feeding with my comings and goings. The event started sixish so I was up, fed Oscar, caught all the action of the race and was back home before 10:00 a.m. to top him up.

Above, Oscar searches for milk in the crook of my thumb. He'll either suck formula from the end of a syringe or he'll lick it from my hand as below, or from his paws.

To the left, a drop of milk got on his eye which I swabbed off with a Q-tip. I try to clean up any milk that might get on him so that he is kept non-sticky.
If you are wondering how I keep him safe from three cats that share the apartment with us, see the last photo. It's jury-rigged but it works. I put a strainer over his plastic box and then the laundry basket over everything.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ten O'clock Feeding and All's Well

Oscar is doing fine. Feedings were a little wonky today due to a garage sale that involved four blocks of my street so I was back and forth, feeding him when I could get someone to watch my tables out front. Then there was the block BBQ and I excused myself half way through to feed him and then returned for dessert.

I am trying to stretch the feedings to 2 1/2 hours now so that I get more sleep. Unlike Oscar, I can't nap during the day in between the two hours and so I need concentrated night sleep.

One of the things I've noticed since he arrived five short days ago is how strong he has become and he appears to have gained at least 1/3 body mass so he is bigger now than when this photo was taken two days ago.

He's a thriving little fellow, eager to eat and then as he finishes his "bottle" he is just as quick to pop off to sleep but not before our postprandial ritual of stimulation of  his nether regions in order to encourage defecation. His mother would normally do this as indeed cats and dogs do for their young but it's up to me. He does not like me stroking him with a damp Q-tip and protests with small squeaks and curls into a ball to hinder the action.

Now that he is bigger and stronger, he chooses to sleep beneath the fake fur and on the paper liner which is a warmer spot due to being closer to the heating pad. He makes himself comfortable, just like a human baby.

There is much that is similar, as far as I can tell, between this rodent baby and a human one. They prefer the safety of being wrapped so when I feed him, I swaddle him in a square of fake fur with his head and front paws sticking out which he sometimes wraps his little hands around. As he becomes sated, he starts to fall asleep and drops away from the "nipple."

Such an awed little being.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Oscar does the Gatineau

Well, he didn't exactly do the Gatineau, those rolling hills in La Belle Province that surround Ottawa, but he did spend five hours there, nestled in his plastic container in my Caravan beside which I placed a soft drink bottle filled with hot water which I then wrapped in a towel and this provided warmth for most of the day. I refilled the bottle with hot water half way through the afternoon as he seemed a little lethargic. This was probably because he was not being kept at a constant temperature.

The heating pad chez moi upon which his small container sits is on low all the time and it warms up his ersatz nest nicely. The plastic container is lined with paper and fake turquoise fur. The paper is changed regularly and the fake fur washed and replaced.

I don't have a photo of Oscar today but suffice to say, he looks the same. Black, bulbous, unseeing eyes and a teensy body that looks more large earth worm than mammal. Perfectly-formed little hands and feet and a rat-like tail. No fur and no sign of fur. Microscopic whiskers.

A sign that he's growing is that his ears have come out from his head. At first, they were flush. The photo below is taken from a website that shows how to tell the age of a squirrel. From what they say, Oscar is a week to two weeks of age. He looks just like these ones here.

Hard to fathom but I have become a stay-at-home mom.

Oscar had a Good Breakfast

Baby Oscar is doing very well. He's got a great appetite but like all babies, once he's eaten, he's ready to go back to sleep.

When feeding, he doesn't so much suck the milk from the syringe, he licks it. And any milk that spills on him or me, he licks.

I clean him with a wet cotton ball after each feeding so that the milk doesn't stick to his tiny, perfectly formed feet.

Oscar and I are off to the Gatineau in a little while. I have to pack a bag for him. We'll need formula, syringes, cotton balls, Q-Tips, his bed, the heating pad and other accouterments. Having not had children, I never had a diaper bag but now I'll have one for a squirrel. 

Four O'clock Feeding

I can see why the hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world.

A mother wakens to feed her child and it's just the two of them in the depths of the night. There is much contemplation that takes place.

I can see why we often associate the singing of lullabies to babies. Anything to get them to eat and then back to sleep.

I don't know if it's being a woman that makes this feeding ritual so satisfying or if anyone would accept the plain necessity and resolution that leads to satisfaction.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Oscar is Doing Well

I was not prepared for the raising of this creature but I am getting there. Got some Esbilac a puppy formula for hand-feeding pups and Oscar has taken to this well. I feed him using the syringe in the photo in the far left photo. I load it and then place it in hot water to bring it up to over 98 F and I heat it over the duration of feeding by placing it in a dish of hot water. I'm not sure if he's grown over the past two days but he sure packs away the food! I know that he's getting stronger; his little limbs push and pull at the syringe and when he has had enough, he struggles before he falls fast asleep. I try to wash him with a
warm water-soaked cotton ball before putting him back on the fake fur bed
I made in a square plastic container.

Because Oscar needs to be kept between 98 and 102F, I have his bed sitting on a heating pad. He is protected from getting over-heated by a cake rack on the pad over which a sheet of newspaper has been placed.

His eyes are still closed and won't be open for up to four more weeks.

Tomorrow, I take Oscar with me on a trip to the Gatineau. Not that he'll know where we are but I have to be along Highway 148 and don't want to miss any feedings so have to take him with me.

Stay tuned to hear how this adventure goes.

Thank-you, Shannon Lee