Where do sick and orphaned squirrels go in Columbus?
If they’re lucky, they’re delivered to the home of a retired Army veteran who’s nuts about the little creatures.
Steve Shenk’s home could accurately be described as a rehabilitation station for abandoned and sick squirrels.
“The room we’re in right now is a room that I had to dedicate in the house in order to meet the licensing requirements,” Shenk says.
Shenk has been certified by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to administer his life-saving skills.
The gray squirrels under his care came to him for a variety of reasons.
Take Charron and Chaphira for instance.
“They’re actually siblings. Somebody had cut down a tree and the nest was in the tree,” Shenk says.
All of Shenk’s current furry friends have been given a name that begins with a C-H.
“Charles was covered with ant bites. I counted over 60 fire ant bites. We really didn’t think he was going to make it because there was so much antacid or ant poison in his system. But he’s doing fine,” Shenk says.
And then there’s Chadrack who was brought to Shenk when only a few days old.
“Little guy had some stomach issues. We use a lot of human drugs on them. I was actually giving him children’s simethicone which is an anti-bloat, anti-gas drug,” Shenk says.
He currently has 10 squirrels under his care. That’s nothing compared to last year at this time.
“Last fall we took in 37 and we worked with them. At one time we had 24 without their eyes open that we were feeding,” he says.
So what happens when Winter comes?
“We have two walk-in cages in a bedroom in the house. Lots of times you’ll get babies real late in the season and it’s just too late to release them,” he says.
Charlotte is the first squirrel he’s cared for this season.
<“She’s about seven weeks old. So in four to five weeks, we’ll be releasing her back into the wild which is our end game. We don’t keep squirrels as pets,” Shenk says.
He says does this because he gets a good feeling and he feels like he’s giving back.
“Somehow you’re giving back to nature,” he says.
What Shenk does is done out of the goodness of his heart but expenses are involved. He currently has a fundraiser on his Facebook page – Squirrel Rehabilitation in Columbus, Georgia.
You can make a donation there if you’d like to help with the cause.