There’s nothing much cuter than seeing a spry little squirrel running, jumping, and climbing the trees in your backyard. But one family in Finland noticed a red squirrel in quite the opposite circumstance: it was seemingly lifeless on the side of a road.
They were devastated at the sight, but then the wounded squirrel showed faint signs of life. It was just the beginning of a story that went from heartbreaking to heartwarming in a matter of seconds…
When a family in Finland spotted this poor little squirrel on the side of a road in 2007, he showed no signs of life. Had he been struck by a car? Attacked by another animal? The family was frantic; they never saw a baby animal so sick, and they wanted to do everything they could to help him survive.
They took him home and immediately tried to nurse him back to health. After a few trips to a veterinarian, the little squirrel not only began to recover, but he really started thriving under the careful ministrations of the family…
And wouldn’t you know it? All of their tender love and care worked! Before too long the little fellow was up and about, eager to explore the fascinating new place where he lived. The family couldn’t get enough of watching his antics.
However, there was one small dark cloud obscuring the squirrel’s happy ending. “We realized that his eye would never heal completely and he wouldn’t survive on his own,” said Reddit user Priami, whose family adopted the squirrel.
While they were heartbroken to learn that the squirrel would never be able to return to his natural habitat, the family was happy to take in the critter as one of their own. After all, he was already as good as family to them, and they couldn’t let him go…
Once they made the decision to officially adopt their little squirrel friend, they realized that they were going to have to give him a name. They named him Arttu, or “pretty much the Finnish version of ‘Arthur.'” He wore the name well!
After they named their new friend, it was time to help him get acclimated to his new forever home for good! They quickly discovered that Arttu had quite the personality, which shouldn’t have been surprising in such a spirited squirrel.
Arttu loved to joke around: “He liked to have playful ‘fights’ with our hands (you know, like cats do) and he was smart enough not to bite too hard.” You have to love an animal with a playful heart and a bright spirit like that…
Arttu loved hanging out with his human family so much! When he wasn’t crawling all over them, he was making the most of people’s hoodies, nestling into a temporary nest inside them so he could be nice and warm.
Arttu had quite the appetite, too. The family tried many different snacks to see what would please the little guy and they were delighted by his tastes. “We fed him nuts, fruits, berries and mushrooms.” (And pine-cones!)
Arttu loved eating his snacks outside with his family while they sat enjoying each other’s company. While he obviously couldn’t communicate with them, he made it clear with his contented presence that he loved every minute he spent in their company.
Arttu was so comfortable with his adoptive family that he could turn any place into a cozy nest that was perfect for his next nap. From sweatshirts to their cupped hands, Arttu was always ready to snuggle up with his humans.
While Arttu couldn’t spend his days jumping from tree to tree like other squirrels, that didn’t mean that his adoptive family didn’t give him time to explore. They loved taking him outside and letting him climb around as nature intended… with proper supervision, of course!
When the time came to go back inside his house with his people, they made sure to always let him bring back a little piece of the outdoors with him. His favorite? Pinecones, of course!
When December came around every year, the whole family had to prepare themselves. With Arttu in the house, the Christmas tree needed to be extra secured since he’d inevitably climb to the very top!
Luckily Arttu seemed to understand that trees inside of the house were different from trees he might find outside of the house. Luckily, he got to spend some time appreciating the ornaments on the indoor tree.
Of course, owning a squirrel as a pet has its own special set of challenges in addition to all the joy it brings. Because he wasn’t living in the great outdoors, Arttu regularly needed to have his nails trimmed, which wasn’t always an easy feat.
While other animals might have acted out after being groomed in this fashion, Arttu always took it like a real trooper. He knew that the sooner he allowed his new family to trim his nails, the sooner he could get back to having fun!
Arttu lived with the family from 2007 until 2013, when he passed of old age. They found him curled up in his “nest” as if he was sleeping. It was difficult for the family to come to terms with the fact that their unusual pet had a relatively short lifespan…
But however short, it looked like Arttu’s life was very happy. Now he probably has all the nuts he can handle in squirrel heaven! His family did something touching with his leftover snacks, too. “We fed other squirrels all the food we had stored for him before he died.” How sweet!