Shelly started coming around 5 years ago, and immediately won our hearts. She was definitely a different sort of squirrel.
She would reach out to us to get food, and take it from our hands, bouncing from foot to foot if we were not fast enough.
She would "knock" on the door by running back & forth across it.
She would put her hands on the patio window and look in, looking for us.
When she saw me in the yard, she would come running toward me. (insert visual of the squirrel version of "10"). There was something uplifting about her excitement.
I had to rescue our mail lady a couple of times, from Shelly expecting peanuts as a toll to enter the yard. And a UPS driver one time told me "wow have you seen the squirrels around this place?" when she was following him one day.
Shelly brought her babies around each year, teaching them where the endless supply of nuts and seeds was. That in itself was a huge show of faith. Now I am heartbroken, and in a quandary as to if I should continue to feed this year's babies (almost grown now). It makes me sad to see them, and there just will not be another Shelly.
She came to us about 10 days ago in obvious distress. She was weak and having trouble breathing. This broke our hearts because there was really nothing we could do for her. As much as we thought of her as a pet, she was still a wild animal and would have been more distressed if we had tried to get her to a vet. (yes, that means I was thinking of it).
She stuck around until well after dark, which is a real no-no for squirrels. We believe she was saying her goodbye's. Then suddenly, she was gone. I held out hope that she would be back and all well, but that has not happened and now I must admit, it will not.
She was getting older, and had started looking it recently. So as sad as we were to say goodbye, I suppose it was not a surprise. Something had made me take out my camera a few days before her goodbye. So all of these photos are all from a few days before she left.