The rescue squirrel that captured hearts around the world is now back home in New York after life-altering surgery in Florida funded largely with public donations.
Little Thumbelina Girl is beloved by hundreds of thousands of social media followers and her family raised close to $63,000 after starting a campaign last year to address a tooth, which was growing into the roof of her mouth and along with it came more health problems.
Thumbelina had two odontomas, which are benign bone tumours growing at the base of her incisors and into the nasal cavity, that also required surgery.
Christina Reyes and her husband, Michael, found a surgeon in Florida to work on saving Thumbelina’s life.
“After a VERY long week and a half and what felt like a never ending drive from Daytona, Florida to New York City… we are HOME!” the couple posted by way of update Friday.
“She has been resting for most of her days since Wednesday night, after two very stressful, and scary, and painful weeks, she can finally relax where she feels safest. She IS starting to eat more on her own, thank goodness! We have several more days of oral antibiotics and about two weeks of nasal antibiotic drops to go. We will have her first post-op follow up appointment with her Primary doctor here, at home, at the end of next week,” they wrote.
Thumbelina is an Eastern Grey Squirrel rescued in March, 2016 after her nest was destroyed during construction in the Bronx. Her sister died not long after. Attempts to reunite the tiny baby with her mother failed.
But Christina and Michael, who had been rehabilitating wildlife in the city for years, took Thumbelina in where she has thrived and became an internet sensation.
While the crowdfunding effort soared well above the initial goal of $12,000 after it was launched last year, the couple says “any extra funds will be used for Thumb’s continued medical care and for our local wildlife.”
Thumbelina’s road to recovery hasn’t been easy.
Earlier this month, Thumbelina finished the second round of antibiotics to help treat a staph infection in her sinus cavity.
“Although she’s not getting worse, we know she’s not getting better,” the couple posted earlier this month. “It seems the reason is that the infection might be in a little piece of bone in her sinus cavity. Antibiotics has a tough time penetrating bone, and so the best and safest way to treat is to remove that infected area in the bone.”
It’s not the first surgery either for Thumbelina.
The family headed back to Florida a week ago.
“A whole year later, we thought it was over and that we’re done after two trips across the country, two major odontoma surgeries, and over a dozen follow ups. She had been doing so great. She learned how to eat again missing her incisors, she overcame so so very much,” the couple explained.
Meanwhile fans continue to send well-wishes to the world’s most famous squirrel.
For now, Thumbelina is taking it easy for the American holiday weekend.
“She’s the bravest little mouse and we know even though it will be scary, she will fight as always,” Christina and Michael wrote.