He never thought that he would be able to do it, and he never even wanted to. But it was life as he knew it now, and he wouldn’t do anything to change it. It wasn’t long before he realized that things had gone wrong along the way, and things couldn’t be done the way he originally intended them to. It was time to make a life-changing decision about his little friend, but it wouldn’t be easy.
If we’re going to be honest, Allen Pursley wasn’t looking for a new furry family member. Actually, he was looking for the opposite. Allen and his husband were already the proud owners of two dogs and a cat, but they had a wrench thrown into their plans. One windy day, in Lewisville, TX, a stranger witnessed a heartbreaking event: a tiny squirrel had fallen from a tree. Thankfully, the passerby was quick on his feet and immediately brought the little critter to the vet.
The staff spent hours working on the little squirrel, trying to keep it alive. They could tell that the squirrel was under five weeks old because he couldn’t open his eyes yet. In an attempt to find the little squirrel’s mother, they sent people to the site where the squirrel was found, but they couldn’t find her. It was now up to them to provide care for the infant squirrel, but they would need to make some sacrifices.
Because the baby squirrel needed 24-hour care, the staff took turns bringing the baby squirrel home with them. And that was when Allen first met the little critter. Allen’s husband was a part of the clinic staff, so when it was his turn, the squirrel went home with him. Allen had never interacted with a squirrel before, so he wasn’t sure what to do. But they wouldn’t have the squirrel for long because they planned on reintroducing him to the wild, so Allen jumped on board. But Allen had no idea what was to come.
Allen and his husband had an advantage that no one else had: Allen worked from home. Working from home allowed Allen to give the squirrel the 24-hour care that it required, especially since the squirrel needed to be hand-fed formula with a syringe. Allen may not have been an expert, but he learned quickly how to copy the way a mother would feed their young. Even though Allen had no veterinary skills, it was now his duty to take care of the squirrel. And honestly, it was a bit risky.
“I didn’t know what I was doing in the beginning. We were just basically trying to keep him alive,” explained Allen. It was obvious that Allen was perfect for the job because it wasn’t long before he established a bond with the little squirrel. Allen looked on as the little squirrel slept and ate, which is what he did almost all of the time. They were together for most of the day. This was when something incredible happened.
A few weeks after Allen started taking care of the squirrel, it finally opened its eyes, and Allen was the first thing he saw. He must have loved him from the beginning because he was comfortable with Allen from the start. Allen figured it was a good time to give his friend a name, so he called him Rocky from “Rocky and Bullwinkle.” He even gave him cute pet names, such as Sweet Squirrel, Squiggidy-Boo, and Squirrelito. He had other names, too, but they weren’t as cute.
“I’m sure he also thinks his name is ‘Bad Squirrel’ with as many times as he heard me say it when I was training him to stay off countertops and drapes,” said Allen jokingly. But Rocky being naughty was just a sign that he was stronger, healthier, and more confident. Allen wanted to make Rocky more comfortable, so he and husband turned their closet into a place for Rocky to hang out. Everything seemed to be going great in their home, but maybe it was going too great.
Now that Rocky had his own space, he could crawl, climb, and play without having to worry about tearing up the rest of the house. Allen was growing attached to Rocky, frequently showing off their cuddle and play time on Instagram. They had established an inseparable bond. It may look great on the outside, but it was actually a bit of a problem.
The initial plan for Rocky’s life was to nurse him back to health so he could later be returned to his home in the wilderness. Unfortunately, time was quickly passing and it seemed like those plans for Rocky were falling through. “By the time he ended up becoming an adult and I looked at releasing him, I realized I had already done way too much wrong to be able to release him,” explained Allen. There was only one thing left for Allen to do.
Unfortunately, because Rocky had become domesticated, he had no idea how to get his own food, protect himself from predators, or interact with other squirrels. Allen by no means wanted to endanger Rocky, so they decided to keep him permanently. Allen’s husband agreed with the decision, of course, even though Rocky didn’t like him as much.
“He doesn’t allow anybody else to handle him. My husband can’t handle him either,” said Allen. Which makes sense, considering Rocky is a wild animal. But when he’s with Allen, Rocky is a completely different squirrel. When he’s with Allen, “he’s got the temperament of a cat.” Speaking of cats, Rocky didn’t really care for the other cat, or the dogs, that lived in the house. But he does seem to look forward to other wild visitors.
One day, as Allen and Rocky were doing their own thing, they had received a visitor in the window. It was another squirrel, who seemed a bit interested in Rocky’s life indoors. Rocky went nuts over his appearance and ran all over the house in a complete frenzy before he went back to the window to get a better look. There are also several squirrels that check in on Rocky pretty regularly. Allen calls them his “grand-squirrels.” But Allen will always devote the most of his attention to Rocky.
Rocky absolutely adores his human best friend. He enjoys sitting on top of Allen’s head, as they watch television together on the couch. Allen knew that Rocky needed some time outside, as well, so he built him an enclosure outdoors so he could climb and play. They may seem like an unlikely pair, but they continue to grow closer as the years pass by.
In July of 2017, Allen and Rocky celebrated three years of being in each other’s lives. He wrote on Instagram, “Happy 3rd birthday SQUIRRELITO! Thank you for reminding me to NEVER underestimate any animal’s intelligence and emotional capacity… Here’s to many many more!” It definitely looks like these two are going to be together for awhile.