New Brunswick

A squirrelly situation: Teens rescue rodent drenched in hard foam insulation

A squirrel trapped under a vehicle in St. Andrews is lucky to be alive after two teens came to the animal's rescue earlier this week.

'It pretty much looked like a big ball of insulation foam running around'

This squirrel covered in hard foam insulation was found struggling under a vehicle in downtown Saint Andrews earlier this week. (Submitted)

A squirrel trapped under a vehicle in Saint Andrews is lucky to be alive after two teens came to the animal's rescue this week.

The tiny creature was covered in hard foam insulation and hardly recognizable as a squirrel.

"It pretty much looked like a big ball of insulation foam running around," said Jaydon Pettipas, one of the rescuers.

Pettipas and his friend Aidan Hart were walking in downtown Saint Andrews on Monday, when they noticed about 10 people huddled outside Joey's Your Independent Grocer.

When the duo got a closer look, they could see the small rodent covered in the material. They knew the animal didn't have long to live. 

 "There was nothing recognizable about it," Pettipas said.

Thinking quickly, the 16-year-old Hart went inside the grocery store and grabbed a small milk crate to house the squirrel.

They quickly started making phone calls asking for help from family and friends.

"No one really knew what to do with it," said Pettipas, 15.

Then Pettipas's mom stepped in.

She contacted the closest veterinary clinic, in St. George, about 33 kilometres northeast of Saint Andrews, and was urged to come in right away.

But before the two friends left the scene, bystanders asked for Pettipas's cell number so they could check in on the animal the next day.

The Grade 10 student said he received numerous calls about the squirrel. 

Vet hadn't seen anything like it

When the animal was brought to the St. George Veterinary Clinic, Dr. Melanie Eagan was shocked.

"I had never seen anything like this before," she said.

She said the squirrel wasn't very mobile, with the exception of its back legs, which moved ever so slightly.

When a veterinarian in St. George combed out the insulation, the squirrel lost some of its fur and saw some skin abrasions.     (Submitted)

"He was pretty much frozen in place," she said.

"He would not have lived if they had not taken the time to bring him in."

Material was 'rock hard' 

Eagan doesn't believe the foam insulation was a malicious act. Instead, she thinks the squirrel was probably living in someone's garage, basement or shed and got caught in the material.

"Someone was probably patching up a hole trying to keep a draft out and this little guy ran through it when it was still wet," she said. "But that stuff hardens pretty quickly so it wouldn't have taken long for him to become in distress."

She said it took time, patience and rubbing alcohol to loosen the foam from the animal's fur.

"That stuff is rock hard," she said.

When the alcohol didn't work, she gently combed out the foam, resulting in the loss of fur and skin abrasions.    

"I was surprised how well it turned out."

The animal has since been released in the St. George area near the veterinary clinic.

Although Eagan has never treated a squirrel before, she applauded the two teens for their quick response to help the animal.

"I definitely learned that it's kind to help out, especially animals in need," Pettipas said.  

With files from Information Morning Saint John

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