Town Crier Articles

Residents & Community Rescue Trapped Squirrel
Posted on June 1, 2020 7:00 AM by Patti Vaticano
Categories: Life in New Town
There is arguably no worse situation for an animal lover and activist to be in than one in which an animal is in danger and there is little hope of helping it in time.  That was my dilemma, late one Wednesday morning, earlier this month.  I had just finished brunch and was successfully into reading a ghost story, when I heard really weird sounds outside my front windows.  I went out on my deck and heard what I thought was a squirrel trapped in my garage, as the sounds seemed to be emanating from there. It sounded as though he was banging on one of the garage windows in an effort to get out.  It would have been an easy rescue—but no such luck.  It was a squirrel, alright, but he was trapped in the front downspout off my roof.  My worst nightmare: an animal in distress and I had no clue as to how to help.
He was not happy.  Every time I tapped on the spout, I heard mad protests and hurried scramblings.  I tried everything to get him out.  The downspout fed into an underground corrugated drainage pipe, and he must have been stuck just short of the bend in that line.  I couldn’t disconnect the two pieces, and I couldn't dig the pipe out, because it was being held down by the root system of the little myrtle tree in front of it.  I pulled up a small root, then hit a big one and realized I could go no further.
I called Town Management in an absolute panic and asked if they knew of a handyman who could help me.  A lovely young woman, Kaitlyn, said she would ask around and get back to me, and in a few minutes (Bless her!), she called back with a recommendation from several people in the office:  Den Bledsoe.  She said he was a lovely man and would be sure to help me.
So, I called Den.  He was SO kind but said he was on a job in Gloucester and could not get back to me until around 4:30 or 5--a 3.5 hour wait, at that point in time.  I was so upset as I thought the squirrel wasn't able to breathe.  Den said he had a lot of experience with squirrels in tight fixes and assured me the squirrel had plenty of air to breathe.
But 20 minutes later, Den called to tell me he was sending two of his workers ASAP on an Errand of Mercy.  45 minutes later, two wonderful, young men, Jeff Tooley and Spencer Wilkerson, arrived and freed the poor, little guy—and they could not have been more assuring or kind as they did so. They popped the two pieces apart in a flash, and all three of us waited for the Great Escape.  Nothing happened. Though we could see the small tyrant in the lower end of the pipe, he was dazed and would not come out.   He was drenched and missing some hair on his head and had a small abrasion in the spot, but he would not budge no matter what we did to persuade him. I was intending to reach in and bag him with a towel and bring him to my vet's; but before I had the chance to go into action, he shot out of the pipe like a cannonball and was gone. 
We freed Willy, and I was so tremendously relieved and grateful to these two young knights.  I asked how much I owed them.  "Nothing,” they said.  “Just send some business our way, if you can."
So here I am, letting my New Town neighbors know that Den Bledsoe and his crew are conscientious, kind to a fault—and surely, by recommendations alone, can be trusted to know a lot more than how to free squirrels from downspouts.  Den is now my “Handyman of Choice,” and I will not hesitate to call him for all my future handyman needs.  He has earned my trust, and I hardily recommend him to my neighbors for their handyman tasks and projects.  Den Bledsoe’s number is 757-817-3152, or you can email his office manager, Rachel, at  Rachel also happens to be Den’s wife of 37 years.
Pictured are my “Squirrel Liberators,” Spencer and Jeff, standing by my downspout.  I wish I had gotten a picture of the squirrel for posterity’s sake, but he must have had an agenda that couldn’t wait.
Comment By: Tom Engelberger
Posted on June 1, 2020 12:17 PM
Great story. Well written and with a happily ever after ending. Thanks for sharing!- GE