Baby Squirrel Forms Precious Bond With Disabled Veteran After Being Rejected by Her Mother

A baby squirrel who was once rejected by her mother has formed a beautiful bond with the disabled US veteran who rescued her. The veteran hoped to release her once she was healthy, but the squirrel had her own plans.

Formerly of the US Marines, 53-year-old New York City native Paul Materasso was injured in service. He is now a father of two living in Queens.

Epoch Times Photo
Paul Materasso with Stella the squirrel. (Courtesy of Paul Materasso)

On June 1, 2019, after dropping his daughter off at a Japanese weekend school, Materasso was at a red light, waiting, when he noticed a baby squirrel being attacked by birds.

“The baby was on a store awning,” he told The Epoch Times. “The birds knocked the baby off the awning, I pulled over to help.”

Materasso fetched a ladder and climbed up to place the baby squirrel back on the awning, in sight of her mother.

“I knew where her nest was, but it was way too high for me to get her there,” Materasso said. “I put her near and her mother saw her. I believe the mother kicked her out for her flea infestation.”

Materasso then drove home but returned to the site several times over the next few hours to check on the baby squirrel. Her mother never returned. Nine hours later, the baby squirrel, who he named Stella, was on the floor being chased by stray cats.

Epoch Times Photo
Paul aged 8 with his first rescued squirrel, Suzy. (Courtesy of Paul Materasso)

Witnessing this sight, Materasso decided to take 7-week-old Stella home with the intention of releasing her when she was old enough.

Caring for Stella was not the veteran’s first rodeo with a squirrel. As a child, he helped his father raise a squirrel when a pair was booted out of their nest by their mother in the family backyard, according to Bored Panda. However, one of them died in the first month, as he was sick. Materasso named the other baby squirrel Suzy, and she lived in his home for nine long years.

Due to his prior experience, Materasso knew that baby squirrels need to drink milk every four hours. Apart from feeding Stella with dog milk formula from a bottle, he made her cozy in a small cage in his home.

Epoch Times Photo
Stella is on bottle feed. (Courtesy of Paul Materasso)

“I also had to help Stella; she had fleas … over 20 on her little body,” Materasso told The Epoch Times. “She was in pain, and when I got all the flas off she was so happy. That is when our special bond started … I had to be Stella’s ‘mom,’ feed her, play with her, and keep her happy.”

When Stella turned three months old, Materasso began feeding her solid food: 80 percent fruits and vegetables, and 20 percent nuts. Like most squirrels, avocados were Stella’s favorite.

Even at 7 months old, Stella was so small that she could fit into a human hand.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Paul Materasso)

When Stella was healthy, Materasso tried releasing her, but Stella would always come back.

“I guess she saw the love I gave her, attention, and of course the great food,” Materasso said. “She definitely trusts me and I trust her … the bond that we have is unbelievable.”

Materasso’s 18-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter also fell in love with Stella, begging their dad to set her up her own Instagram account to share her antics with the world—Materasso obliged.

His favorite of Stella’s antics is when she runs around outside without a leash and always comes to him when he calls.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Paul Materasso)

“She does this ‘chatter’ with her teeth, letting me know she wants to play and explore more,” Materasso said. “I usually let her. If I start to walk away, she comes running, like, ‘Hey where do you think you’re going without me?’”

Sharing more about Stella’s personality, Materasso said: “If she hears me opening up a bag of anything, she needs to run and see what it is. If you come over to my place and bring something for her, she gets all happy to see you. She does these back flips in her cage so that nobody can resist giving her something; she knows how to use her charm, big time!”

Materasso’s father passed away in 2017. He hopes that Stella might live longer than their once-beloved squirrel Suzy, telling Bored Panda, “I truly think she was sent to me from God and my father.”

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Paul Materasso)

Squirrels don’t make great pets as they need more attention than a dog or cat because they get lonely fast, Materasso said. But adorable Stella chose her home, and Paul found a bond like no other, telling The Epoch Times, “We need to take care of each other like we want to be taken care of if we need help. Animals need us, and we need animals.”

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Paul Materasso)

Watch the video:

(Courtesy of Paul Materasso)

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Louise Chambers


Louise Chambers is a writer, born and raised in London, England. She covers inspiring news and human interest stories.