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Stumpy - Page Text Content

S: The True Story of STUMPY



1: STUMPY A TRUE STORY By PAPA JOE (Joe Ward) | A special thanks to the following who made this book possible Kelli Little Gayle Morrow Linda Williams Jessica Ward Ryan Anderson Dr. Laura Ward

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3: The day after Hurricane Katrina roared through Lowndesboro, the green of summer was slowly giving way to the yellow, gold and red leaves of an early fall. As my wife Laura and I sat on our front porch planning how to clean the yard of all the broken limbs and debris left by the storm, I saw Bobbie, our “bob-tailed cat, ambling across the yard with something in her mouth. She came up to me and laid a pink “something” at my feet. When it started to move, I looked closer and realized that it was a baby squirrel, not bigger than my thumb. As I reached to pick it up, I could see it breathing. I looked even closer – the left back leg was partially missing! Gently, I carried her inside and placed her on a heating pad. | STUMPY | 2

4: After situating the tiny squirrel and the heating pad in a box, I mixed some warm milk, Karo syrup and egg yoke in a small doll bottle. She took to the bottle in a flash! She started drinking it as though she was starving. | 3

5: Five or six days passed and she began to grow. At 2:00 or 3:00 each morning, she would wake me up, squealing for her bottle of milk. She slept every night in that old shoe box near my bed, snuggled up in my old green hunting toboggan. I usually had to get up several times a night to repeat the process of warming the bottle and letting her drink the warm, tasty mixture. | 4

6: After the fourteenth day, she opened her eyes. Boy!! What a surprise! She was really growing fast and her hair was sprouting out all over her body, especially on her tail. | 5

7: The following week, Laura and I had to go to the beach on business. Well guess who had to go with us?? Our new little friend was now climbing on everything and exploring every nook and cranny in the house. But she still wanted her bottle every few hours! So she could make the trip with us, I put her in a small bird cage with her nesting material and off we went. I have to say that she’s probably the only squirrel that ever traveled over two hundred miles in a car to see the Gulf of Mexico! | 6

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9: One day after returning home, I gave her some cracked pecans. I noticed that her teeth had grown too long to eat properly. Immediately, I took her to Dr. Hal Pate, our local veterinarian, to help solve her problem. Because he was a little nervous about handling such a wiggly, little creature safely, I held her while he gave her a shot to help her relax. Then he carefully trimmed her teeth. (There is one thing about squirrels that most people don’t know – their teeth grow every day all their life. To keep their teeth the proper length, they must gnaw and eat hard nuts constantly.) | 8

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11: I decided to take Stumpy up to Lowndes Academy for the young boys and girls to see. Mrs. Linda Williams, the headmaster at the Academy, graciously agreed for Stumpy to visit several classrooms. First, I took my baby squirrel to Jeanette Cobb’s kindergarten class. The boys and girls were so thrilled to see a baby squirrel up close. Some of the children decided her name should be Stumpy since she had part of one leg missing. After the visit to Miss Jeanette’s class, the name stuck, and everyone started calling her Stumpy. I then had a pet squirrel with a special name. | 10

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13: Soon into the fall, our Lowndes Academy boys had started their football season. I knew I had to take Stumpy to all the games, even the ones away, because she still had to have her bottle and nuts on time. Stumpy had been to the beach – now she was going to football games! No other squirrel could say that! | 12

14: When Stumpy was about a year old, Michelle Rogers, the first grade teacher at Lowndes called me with a special problem. She and her daughter Carly had found four baby squirrels that had fallen from a pecan tree in the back yard. They thought about me and Stumpy. Would I feed and take care of four more? On the drive to Hayneville, I wondered what Stumpy would think about four new babies on her porch. How would she react? | 13

15: When I arrived at Miss Michelle’s house, she showed me the little ones in her jacket pocket. Luckily, I had taken that same old shoe box and my green toboggan with me. We placed the baby squirrels into the toboggan. I returned home with them, wondering how I would manage to feed all four of these hungry babies at one time. | 14

16: Using the little baby bottles, I started all over again. Sure enough, the same routine worked for the new babies. In about four or five months, they had grown up and wanted to be outside. Sadly, I knew I must set them free. Even though they came up to the porch nearly every day for food, they never again let me pick them up the way Stumpy did. But for a long time they returned for the tasty nuts! | 15

17: At this time Stumpy continued to grow and played on the screened porch. I wanted her to have a tree with some branches to climb. I chopped down a small tree about six feet tall and nailed it to the floor of the screened porch. It had lots of limbs for Stumpy to climb on. I even made her a nest in the tree. She loved having her own place to climb and play! Laura had given up her screened porch to Stumpy! | 16

18: Each day I let Stumpy come into the house. She loved exploring! She even hid her pecans and peanuts all around - under pillows, behind furniture, on shelves. We never knew where we would find them. We had breakfast together every morning. She would wait patiently by the table for me to get our breakfast cereal ready. She loved the sugar on my Frosted Mini-Wheats and the milk at the bottom of the bowl. When it was time to go back to the porch, I would whistle for her. My special whistle could make her come running just like a little puppy. | 17

19: Stumpy never knew she had only three legs. She could easily run and jump from chair to chair. One day, an interesting thing happened. Laura called me to come to the screened porch and watch Stumpy eat her pecans and sunflower seeds. “You know,” said Laura, “I’ve never really thought about it before, but God blessed Stumpy.” “What do you mean?” I replied, “Have you ever thought what would happen if Stumpy were missing a front leg instead of a back leg? She wouldn’t be able to hold her food to eat without both front legs.” No, I had never thought of it that way. But now after all this time, I knew that Stumpy had been blessed with having two front legs to hold her food. | 18

20: When Stumpy reached two years old, I started taking her out to play in the yard. She would run around playfully and dig in the ground, enjoying every minute spent outside. My special whistle would bring her running back to me. She’d climb up my leg and then perch on my shoulder. We’d walk around the yard together until it was time to head back to the porch. Exhausted, she would gladly snuggle down in her nest and take a nap. | 19

21: As time went on, I could leave the screen porch door open for Stumpy to come and go as she pleased. She would come back in often for food and water. By nighttime she was always back on the porch, ready to spend the night in her nest. | 20

22: Then it happened! On Christmas day after living three years on the screened porch, Stumpy left and never came back. For many weeks, I went to the woods and whistled for her. She never returned. | 21

23: I really miss Stumpy. I will never know what happened to her, but what I do know is that I think about her every day. She brought so much love and joy to our family and friends while living with us. But like all wild animals, she must have wanted to live outside playing in the trees with other squirrels. If that made Stumpy happy, that makes me happy! | 22

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Kelli Little
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About This Mixbook

  • Title: Stumpy
  • Children's book about a pet squirrel.
  • Tags: None
  • Published: almost 9 years ago