As It Happens

This Wisconsin sewer worker saved a squirrel's life — and now they're pals

Chuck Seidl saved a squirrel's life after it drowned in a Wisconsin cul-de-sac earlier this month. Now the critter, named Little Jerry, has taken up residence outside rescuer's home.

Chuck Seidl performed 'mini chest compressions' on Little Jerry after the rodent nearly drowned

Two photos side by side. On the left, a smiling man in a hard hat holds up a wet squirrel. On the right, the same squirrel lies wrapped up in a bright yellow blanket.
Chuck Seidl, a Wisconsin sewer worker, rescued a squirrel and named it Jerry Spankmybutt — or Little Jerry for short. (Submitted by Chuck Seidl)

Whenever Chuck Seidl gets home from work, his buddy Little Jerry is waiting outside for him.

Little Jerry is a squirrel whose life Seidl saved after it nearly drowned in a Wisconsin cul-de-sac earlier this month. 

"I come home from work and he's waiting on the stump. He wants some peanuts or a granola bar. I've been cutting back on the granola bars. He's starting to run me dry a little bit on those, because I like them too," the Oconomowoc, Wis., sewer worker told As It Happens host Nil Köksal. 

"Jerry Spankmybutt is his full name, but Little Jerry is a little more appropriate for the kids, you know?" 

A squirrel lying on its side in a cardboard box, wrapped in a bright yellow shirt.
Little Jerry rests in a cardboard box after his near-death experience. (Submitted by Chuck Seidl)

The unlikely friendship began on Monday, Sept. 12, when Seidl and his co-worker Jared Spangenberg — after whom Jerry is loosely named — were out on a job in Mequon, Wis.

Spangenberg spotted two squirrels in the street, drenched in water, unmoving and squealing in distress. 

"I got on the radio," Spangenberg told Fox News 6. "'Yeah, Chuck, there are these two squirrels here. Come down!'"

There had been heavy rains and wind all weekend, and Seidl suspects the critters got knocked out of a tree and into a puddle. Spangenberg insisted they try to help.

"So that was kind of when we sprung into action and tried to warm them up a little bit," Seidl said. "I thought like, hey, we could turn this Monday into a Monday, fun day you know? Have a couple squirrels hanging out with us on the truck."

A squirrel climbs onto a tree stump next to a house. On the stump is a granola bar out of its packaging.
Little Jerry approaches the granola bar Seidl put out for him. (Submitted by Chuck Seidl)

But their efforts weren't working. One squirrel shrieked, Seidl said, and the other suddenly went stiff, as if it had died. Seidl grabbed the stiff squirrel and started doing "mini chest compressions." 

"I don't know what was going through my head. It was just kind of like, you know, for kicks and grins, we'll see if that works," he said.

"I turned him over and I gave him a couple of pats on the back, and all of a sudden he spits up a little water and he starts breathing again."

Seidl tried to do the same to the second squirrel, he said, but it didn't make it.

The two workers called a wildlife rescue centre, but they had to work all day and couldn't spare the time to drive the little guy over there. So instead, they kept Little Jerry with them in their truck as he recuperated.

Little Jerry took an immediate liking to the man who saved him.

"I was holding him. He was on my chest and I was petting him, and he'd crawl in my breast pocket and snuggle up," Seidl said.

Seidl brought Little Jerry home, where the little squirrel spent the next 24 hours sleeping and recovering, he said. 

Little Jerry has since been set free, but he hasn't strayed far from his new friend.

Seidl doesn't mind. In fact, he says he'd be happy if Little Jerry found a "little squirrel gal" in the neighbourhood and raised some little squirrel babies. 

"As long as he knows he can't come in the house anymore," he said. 

Interview produced by Devin Nguyen.

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