Madeline Ellis Cares For An Orphaned Squirrel

The Story of Our Squirrel Cuff & Injured or Orphaned Wildlife Resources

If you landed on our Squirrel Cuff and wanted to know more about how to handle orphaned wildlife, you're in the right place!

(If you landed here because you're curious why this squirrel jewelry is so close to our heart, scroll down to read that backstory by Madeline Ellis.)

*If you or someone you know comes across injured or orphaned wildlife, immediately contact a local permitted wildlife rehabilitator. They are trained to properly care for them and give them the best chance at survival.*

Louisiana Permitted Wildlife Rehabilitators


The Story of MIMOSA Handcrafted's Squirrel Jewelry

Why Squirrel Jewelry & Life-Saving Wildlife Resources Matter to Us

Backstory by Madeline Ellis - 7.2.21

This is one of the most close-to-my-heart pieces I’ve made in years. I wanted it for myself, and I’m still not 100% sure I’m ready to share why. But I owe it to my little squirrel friend to tell her story and try to help her friends in the process. So here goes… (This is a long one. ;)

One night during the fall of 2020, yet another hurricane tore through our city. The next day, my morning run was more like an obstacle course of fallen trees and power lines, broken branches, and debris everywhere.

I was almost home when a pink blur against the black asphalt flashed in my periphery. It didn’t register but I thought, “Oh no an animal… no way it’s alive… keep going” but then, “What if it IS alive??” I turned around and went back.

I reached down, and it was cold to the touch, “Oh nooo… now what, go home and give it a proper burial…?” I started walking home with the baby squirrel clasped in my hands. A few moments in, I felt a little wiggle! It’s alive!!!! So I ran.

For the next few hours, I called rehabber after rehabber, but each one said they couldn’t take on any more orphaned wildlife. With all the big storms we had that fall, they were inundated.

By chance, I had some connections with a licensed rehabber, and with her guidance, we decided the best thing we could offer this baby was for me to try my hand at caring for her.

Madeline Ellis Holds An Orphaned Baby Squirrel

For the first few weeks, she had to be fed every 2-3 hours around the clock, which meant a lot of alarm clocks and middle-of-the-night feedings. Feeding a squirrel is intense. They can very easily aspirate (basically drown) so you have to be FULLY present every single moment.

Ounce by ounce, she gained weight. Her fur came in and before we knew it, her eyes were open. She had a fully puffed-out tail and was crawling around her cage and our house like they were her little playground.

We were smitten, to say the least. Every moment of having her, you felt fully aware this experience was special, precious, and sacred.

With the way things were in the world, having and caring for her so constantly and all-consuming was a gift. She was an escape for our family, sort of like the key to a secret garden of a more wild and joyful way of being, and we were thankful to get lost with her there.

The plan was always to release her. She was wild and she belonged there. Once she was old enough, we started the process of a slow release where you let them get used to outside slowly, spending more and more time outside until they eventually don’t come back. She was doing great LOVING her time in the trees as a wild squirrel. Devastatingly, her little life was cut short by a bird of prey.

As abruptly as she dropped into our world, she was whisked out of it. Our hearts were broken. We knew we’d have to say goodbye, just not like that.

We found comfort in knowing that instead of her story ending on the road that day, she got to LIVE a full little life and spend a bunch of those days as a real wild squirrel swinging branch to branch.

Sharing this feels like letting the world look under a bandage at a wound that isn’t quite healed. I know how dramatic this sounds, but she came to us at a fragile time when falling head over heels in love was where our hearts desperately needed to be.

But sharing this also feels necessary. Before this experience, I didn’t know a thing about the proper care of orphaned wildlife. I didn’t realize just how fragile they are and truly what all-consuming work caring for them is.

If I can pass on anything that I’ve learned, I’d say if you find a baby animal in distress, please find a trained rehabber. They’ll give that little one the best chance at survival. You can find a list on the Wildlife and Fisheries website and there are groups of them on Facebook (see below.) As tempting as it would be, I wouldn’t do what I did again unless I’d gone through the proper training.

Rehabbing is expensive and time-consuming and almost all rehabbers do it with all their heart and their own money.

I know how this all sounds. Squirrels are pretty low on the totem pole of who needs help these days (and I’m not disagreeing) but as the author Anthony Douglas Williams says, “Those who protect and save other animals lead the way in protecting and saving humanity and earth.”

MIMOSA Handcrafted's Squirrel Bracelets in Bronze

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How Squirrel Jewelry Can Help These Wildlife-Saving Superheroes

Rehabbing is expensive and time-consuming and almost all rehabbers do it with all their heart and their own money.

Below are some great ways to support rehabbers and their efforts:

Second Chance Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation

The Second Chance Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation is located in Bush, Louisiana. It exists to rescue and rehabilitate primarily squirrels and skunks. You can donate 1% of your order to them by choosing their name in the pull-down menu under "Goods for Good" at the bottom of your online MIMOSA shopping cart.

More Wildlife Rehabilitation Resources

Sales to Help Wildlife Rehabbers

This group exists to raise money for rehabbers. At the end of the month, sellers in the group donate 10% of their sales for that month to the group as a whole. All of the donations get sent to Wildlife Rehabbers on their list. It's a wonderful rehabber community effort to offset some of the costs of rehabbing. You can help by shopping their sales!


Published 7/2/21; Last Updated 8/24/23

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