Warm and enthusiastic, Wakeman got into rescuing squirrels eight years ago after discovering one that had been attacked by a neighbor’s dog. She and her daughter “picked it up, put it in a box,” she remembers, and drove home.
Before they got there, the squirrel came out of shock, jumped out of the box, and started running around their minivan. “My daughter’s like, ‘It’s okay, Mom.’” They pulled into their driveway, got a butterfly net from the garage, and caught the squirrel. Then they called Friends of Wildlife (FOW).
A volunteer picked up the animal, treated it, and then brought it back a week later so they could enjoy seeing it released in Greenview Park. Wakeman and her daughter—who’s now studying zoology and philosophy at MSU—thought that was so cool.
Wakeman became a volunteer herself, got trained, and has been rescuing, rehabbing, and releasing the furry, toothy rodents ever since. She now carries the group’s “squirrel phone,” taking calls from anyone who knows of a squirrel that needs help. (Six other “placement coordinators” take calls about fawns, foxes, opossums, rabbits, raccoons, and woodchucks.)