Posted: 13.08.20 at 17:30 by LAYTH YOUSIF @HitchinNubNews
‘You’ve got to give the little guys a chance’ says Paul Allum, one half of Hitchin Squirrel Rescue.
The non-for-profit organisation in the town has only been going little under a year and has fast earned a reputation for providing loving care for the loveable creatures.
Paul and wife Ania have turned their house into a sanctuary for injured squirrels, spending hundreds of pounds of their hard-earned cash every month on food and medicines every month on the bushy-tailed scamps.
“We take in injured or baby squirrels that have been found and make sure they receive the required treatment they need which involves feeding, housing and professional medical care,” explains Paul.
The fully licensed pair have devoted their lives to saving the cuties.
Hard-working Paul has built spacious cages in their back garden to house them before and during lockdown.
They’ve even named a lively pair ‘Ronnie and Reggie’ after the Kray twins – and that’s without mentioning their adorable one-armed squirrel ‘Jason.’
Babies require special 24 hour care which includes frequent feeding of formula milk so that they have the best chance of survival.
“Helping them is so rewarding,” says Ania, while she feeds a baby, adding: “We had to make a midnight trip to pick another one up last night.”
Meet Queenie, a black baby squirrel who had been facing an uncertain future – until Paul and his wife stepped in.
Ania, who works from home soldering for a living (“I have a very understanding boss,” she admits), is in charge of feeding them every four hours with a special milk formula.
“When they open their eyes, we shut our eyes,” she tells Hitchin Nub News. But the long hours on top of her day job do not bother her in her bid to save injured squirrels.
However, despite support from squirrel lovers across the globe – as well as finding an ally in Hitchin MP Bim Afolami, who has helped the pair gain their licence from Natural England, the governing body - the animal-loving couple need to boost donations in order to continue to do the great work they are doing.
“We are thankful for all the backing we’ve had from people from places like Germany and the US but it does cost us a fair amount of money.
“We’re happy to spend our own cash feeding and looking after them because we love doing it - but we would welcome further donations.
“We’re also on the lookout for ‘crafters’ who’d be interested in making anything we could use to sell to raise funds for our rescue.”
The bushy-tailed rodents have remarkable little bodies that are a feat of engineering. They have padded feet which cushion their jumps from up to 20 feet long.
Their eyes are high, situated on each side of their heads so they can see a large amount of their surroundings without having to turn their head. They are also excellent runners – reaching up to 20 mph.
Squirrels require calcium to stay healthy, which they attain in the wild at the moment through roses, hawthorne berries, wild funghi, crab apples and various other seasonal foodstuffs. But, when Paul and Ania take distressed little ones into their care they lavish with love and the diet they need.
Expert Ania takes great in nurturing the squirrels that come to them, young and old, adding: “We start the babies with farleys rusks and give the older ones a daily diet of fruit, veg and nuts as a treat – as well as fresh coconut, grapes, avocados and pak choi - anything that can give them a boost, because sometimes they come into our care in a distressed state.
“Jason came to us after breaking his arm in the wild. We don’t know exactly how old he is as we don’t know his true birthday – but when we took him to the vet, they told us he was about three months old.
“We were told that he would have to be put down, but my wife suggested to the vet that to avoid that perhaps they could amputate Jason’s arm so we could give him an excellent quality of life.
“He’s now happy, healthy and thriving under our care, which is great to see.”
“All we want to do is help squirrels because we love them.”
To donate to Hitchin Squirrel Rescue to help them keep doing what they’re doing visit their website
See our Facebook page Hitchin Nub News for our special live video of “Queenie’ and ‘Jason’ the one-armed squirrel.
Follow our Twitter account @HitchinNubNews for more video.
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