By Lauren Fruen
A SQUIRREL raised by a family after being rescued still pays daily visits to them eight years after they released her to the wild.
Bella was cared for by Brantley Harrison after she was found injured as a baby back in 2009.
The mum-of-two nursed Bella, along with three other squirrels for a few months, before releasing them back into the wild.
Brantley, 42, said she never expected to see any of them again but now has almost daily visits from the one she had named Bella.
The squirrel now likes to hang out in the family’s garden, playing with Brantley’s children and eating lots of nuts.
And Brantley – who has cared for hundreds of squirrels – said Bella is a “very special” kind of animal.
She even found her way to them when pregnant with an injured foot and Brantley cared for them too.
Brantley, who lives with husband and two sons in South Carolina, said: “When Bella was a baby she was injured by an owl.
“I took in Bella and three other squirrels, feeding them formula, vegetables, nuts and fruit.
“We took them in towards the end of 2009 and they stayed with us until Spring 2010 when they were old enough to be in the wild alone.
“Normally when you release them to the wild typically they come back for a couple of days after. Until they figure out how to survive.
“But I knew there was something different about her. She always came back. She comes to the door, she responds to her name. She is special.
“I know exactly which squirrel she is and she comes bounding towards me. It is so cute.
“She has even resorted to jumping over to the dining room window to peer in for someone to see her.
“Five years ago she came and she had a badly injured foot. It turned out she was pregnant and I helped raise her babies too.
“She comes to the door and looks for us. She even lets me put little hats on her head.
“I came into the house once and she was just lounging out on a chair. I couldn’t believe it.”