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Seattle’s most famous squirrel travels to the big city

“Do you want to come down to the City Attorney’s Office to meet Hawthorne?” was the gist of Seattle Police Sergeant Sean Whitcomb’s phone call to me last week.

“Yes, of course.”

You see, Peter Hawthorne is a bit of a celebrity, at least on Twitter. Whitcomb adopted the orphaned gray squirrel in August and has been documenting his development ever since. Followers have watched him eat his first walnut, investigate a vacuum, and everything in between. He has not tried water-skiing yet.

So on a cool December morning, we gathered in a conference room adjacent to City Attorney Pete Holmes’ office for a reunion of sorts. A squirrel reunion, complete with plenty of nuts. Real nuts, folks, real nuts.

Whitcomb brought Hawthorne downtown to meet the man, Kent Meyer, and his daughter, who rescued the baby squirrel while on an evening run over her college summer break. She wasn’t able to make it to the table, but dad took lots of photos.

So why is our city attorney involved? Well he’s Meyer’s boss. And when Meyer was faced with a suffering wild animal brought into his home by his concerned daughter, he immediately knew to contact Holmes, who has rehabilitated plenty of squirrels over the years.

“The next morning, I wake up and see an email from Pete, who said something like, ‘Hold on. It needs to be hydrated. Bring it into the office. I will stop at the pet store and get some puppy formula. And I’ll show you how to take care of it.'”

Kent admitted he would have just put it back where his daughter found it. But he brought the baby squirrel to Holmes.

Eventually, Whitcomb volunteered to be in charge of Hawthorne’s long-term recovery and reintroduction into the wild, which is most likely Whitcomb’s backyard. It’s a stone’s throw from a few neighborhood chestnut trees and the perfect stream for fresh water. And Whitcomb assured me that the door will always be open for Hawthorne’s return. Aw, what a good squirrel dad.

Below are just a few tweets about Hawthorne (OK, maybe more than a few):

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