San Jose

'I Don't Want Them to Die': South Bay 9-Year-Old Saves Injured, Deserted Squirrels

A 9-year-old South Bay boy's mind was transfixed on his looming performance at his elementary school's talent show, but that all changed when he spotted a trio of injured squirrels and saved the day.

Travis Luna and his family on Thursday were strolling to the shy youngster's performance at San Jose's Anderson Elementary School when an unusual sight along the sidewalk caught the boy's eyes.

"Travis noticed this furry black thing on the sidewalk," Candice Vierra, Luna's cousin, said.

Luna ran over and discovered a baby squirrel, who was barely breathing, agonizing on the pavement. As he tended to the injured animal, he found two more young and deserted squirrels under a nearby bush.

Without hesitation, Travis grabbed a shoe box from his grandparents' house nearby and furnished the ailing animals with a cozy home. But Luna wasn't satisifed just yet.

"I don't want them to die," Luna told Vierra. "I don't want them to die."

The talent show had to go on and the 9-year-old nailed his singing performance, but he didn't want to waste anytime accepting applause.

"Once the talent show was done, he ran over to me and said we need to go now and save the squirrels," Vierra said.

The duo hopped in a car and meandered around town, frantically trying to find an animal clinic that would take in the animals without euthanizing them.

The first two stops failed. One shelter had relocated to a new spot and the second one didn't accept squirrels. A third clinic told the youngster they would accept the animals, but the squirrels would have to be euthanized. That answer didn't work for Luna.

"He was so anxious," Vierra said. "He just wanted these babies to be okay."

The final clinic eventually pointed Luna to an animal rescue program that could potentially provide care. A woman from the program took the animals in, worked her magic and was able to help the wounded squirrel regain control of its breathing.

Luna's action-packed adventure was complete, much to the applause of his proud cousin.

"He totally got out of his zone and went to nurturing the squirrels," Vierra said. "His main focus was those squirrels."

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