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INSPIRED - Sandy Wayne the Squirrel

This is a FB post from a few years ago that I wrote. It gives a little InSite into how we began caring for special needs animals here in Alabama. As we add more to this NEWLY CREATED web page, we will be adding some of our older blogs that will give more information on how we began working with wildlife in Florida, which is what led us to creating the Sandy Wayne Sanctuary of Hope. We have been posting on that FB page since 2010, when Sandy Wayne entered our lives, and would like to share more of the older stories, along with our newer adventures.

July 24, 2019,

Good Morning from Heaven. Sandy Wayne tried to make friends with Elmo, but she just couldn't get him to respond to any of her conversations with him. Tommy and I really wanted her to have a friend of her own, but we were not able to find any other animal she could bond with. She LOVED Geannie the guinea pig when they were both younger, but one day Geannie approached her from her blind side and startled her and something snapped inside Sandy Wayne and she attacked that poor little piggie. Tommy had to break up the fight and from that moment on we could not let them share the same space because Sandy Wayne would try to attack her every time we tried. They could visit with a barrier between them, such as the walls of a cage. We introduced her to other squirrels, and she did not like them one bit. But we never gave up trying to find a friend for her.

A lady we knew had begun raising a pair of flying squirrels that she could no longer take care of and asked if I could help them. I decided this would be a good idea and could at least give Sandy Wayne someone to "watch" even if she did not play with them since these guys can usually be rather active and fun to watch. I had made arrangements to pick those little guys up and ran to get them BEFORE Tommy and I drove to the University of Florida to pick up Sandy Wayne from her overnight hospital stay. I got these boys settled in one side of the big cage and had the other side ready for our girl to come home and watch her new friends and was hoping that Sandy Wayne would be excited to have friends right next door to her play area. We later named these boys Radar and Radio, or The Fly Boys. Although many did not know how nor WHEN we brought the Fly Boys home, most of you know what happened next. About halfway into the drive to pick up our Sandy Wayne, we received a phone call telling us that she had passed away. Sandy Wayne never got to meet the Fly Boys.

After moving to Alabama a few months after her death, Tommy and I brought the Fly Boys and our disabled gray squirrel Grace with us, as they were deemed to be "pets" as well as "personal property" in the Florida laws. Some months later the state of Alabama removed these babies from our home and according to what I was told as the officers left our home with these babies, they would be euthanized if deemed to be non-releasable. This was a very difficult battle as we attempted to get them back, along with the help of so many of our Sandy Wayne friends, we feel rather sure they were euthanized. Although we were not successful in introducing the Fly Boys and Grace to Sandy Wayne, I am rather sure they are spending time together in Heaven right now. Sandy Wayne was very frightened of many things and was so unsure of the intents of the other animals around her while on earth, but I am sure she is making friends with all of the animals she met at the Rainbow Bridge. Many times, things happen in our lives that make no sense to us. We go through a lot of trials and troubles as we struggle to find peace and understanding, and many times we never find answers to so many of the "WHYS" in our lives. I could not understand for the longest time why God would send one of his angels to help fix all that was broken in me, then when I felt like I needed her the most, he took her away. But God knew why. He knew that Sandy Wayne had done her job and helped me, but she could not "carry" me through life. It was time for me to stand on my own and begin living my life without using her as the crutch. But he did not leave me stranded without any help. He did leave Sam to help me further this journey. It was also time for Tommy and me to return to Alabama, and God was saving us all the heartaches of losing Sandy Wayne to the hands of wildlife officers, as this would not have gone well if they attempted to remove her from us. ALL of this was part of his plan.

I still do not know why things had to happen in the e=way they did with the Fly Boys and Grace, but I do accept this. I do know if I had been granted permission to keep Grace and the Fly Boys and to do wildlife rescue in Alabama, we would not have begun working with domestic animals and likely would never have met all of the amazing animals that came to us. I can't imagine this journey without meeting some very special babies like Pappy, Flapp, Sarah, Bandit, Tiny Tim, Merry Abby-Gail, Stewart Little, Winnie Cooper and so many others. So, although I do not understand all of his plans for me, I do accept it and know there is more to this story than the chapter about me and the angels around me. I am grateful and so blessed to have this life. Some days I do struggle physically and emotionally, and many days I just want to walk away from all of the work and pain involved in this mission. It is at those times that I think of the days prior to Sandy Wayne coming into my life and of how grateful I am that she was there when she was. PAY IT FORWARD is a motto we live by, and I know that I was saved by having a little squirrel fall from a tree and into my life. The work I do with these special animals is my way of Paying it Forward in attempt to help someone else find a way back from their darkness. Although the most obvious thing we do is helping animals in need, God has another purpose of this whole thing - He is speaking to the hearts of others through these works. I do hope some of what you have seen or felt while hanging out with us has helped ease some discomforts and confusions in your lives. I hope you feel the love and compassion that flows through this mission and that you have been inspired to be a better person. We hope that you are also inspired to be a light to others, and that you too search for ways that YOU can Pay It Forward AND LLSW, LLL, and Never Give up HOPE.

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