A crowdfunding effort for a sick squirrel has raised almost $50,000.
In just four days, the campaign has well exceeded its $12,000 goal to help save Little Thumbelina Girl, a rather famous pet squirrel, with tens of thousands of social media followers.
“We are completely floored and overwhelmed by the amount of support and love we have received,” Christina Reyes and her husband Michael, posted on Thumbelina’s gofundme. “The messages, the calls, the texts. People whom which we have never met wanting to help our little girl.”
Why so much fuss about a squirrel?
Well, Thumbelina is no ordinary squirrel.
Thumbelina is an Eastern Grey Squirrel rescued back in March, 2016 after her nest was destroyed amid construction in the Bronx. Her sister died not long after. Attempts to reunite the tiny baby with her mother would later fail.
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.
Images of the friendliest squirrel in the world captured hearts.
She clearly loves her adopted human parents.
Thumbelina has amassed 180,000 followers on Facebook and another 283,000 on Instagram.
There’s a whole lot of squirrel to love.
But she never developed, what the couple called, a “squirrel spark.”
The thing that makes a squirrel a squirrel and ready to head back into the world.
But she’s also had some health problems along the way.
Despite being on a “very strict” diet specific for non-releasable squirrels, Thumbelina developed a bit of weight problem.
In 2018, veterinarians discovered she had hormonal imbalance, which was causing Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, endometriosis, enlarged uterus, lots of swelling and discomfort, as well as weight gain.
She had a full hysterectomy, but recovered.
But then the night before Thumbelina’s 5th birthday, she was chewing a hazelnut when something didn’t looking right. It turned out she had a tooth growing into the roof of her mouth.
Vets addressed the problem, but found something worse — two odontomas, which are benign bone tumours growing at the base of her incisors and into the nasal cavity. The condition can cause pain, bleeding, trouble breathing and eventually, kill the squirrel.
While they live in New York, they found a veterinarian who could perform the surgery — but in Florida.
“We are terrified, as it is a complicated surgery and a long recovery,” Christina and Michael posted.
The couple says the surgeries must be done separately, which means two 15-hour trips to Florida, and along with it, the cost of gas, hotels, food and of course all the vet bills and medication.
And so, donations began to pour in.
More than 1,600 people are now crowdfunding the expense to save Thumbelina’s life.
The couple couldn’t be more grateful — and hopeful.
“All we’ve ever wanted for Thumbelina in life is for her to be happy, and she has so much of that life ahead of her,” the couple wrote. “We pray it’s just another bump in the road for our little mouse and that when it’s all done she will be back to her hopping silly little self once again.”
THANK YOU But ‘THANK YOU’ doesn’t seem like enough. We are completely floored and overwhelmed by the amount of support…Posted by Little Thumbelina Girl on Thursday, March 25, 2021
And since the crowdfunding effort has gone well beyond the couple’s goal, they are pledging to pay it forward with any additional money going to help other wildlife in need.
“We have surpassed our goal and if you wish to donate, please choose another baby that needs help or an organization in need instead,” Michael and Christina added. “All we ask going forward is for your thoughts and prayers for Thumb.”
Photos: Little Thumbelina Girl