Michael and Christina love bringing joy to all of Thumbelina's adoring fans
MICHAEL REYES: After your first rescue, it becomes addictive.
CHRISTINA REYES: Yeah.
MICHAEL REYES: Every single one of them is unique and different.
CHRISTINA REYES: They all have their own personalities. So we had one that just liked to sit there and look pretty and do her hair all day. The other little girl just wanted to eat.
MICHAEL REYES: All day.
CHRISTINA REYES: So they're a fun, just an interesting type of animal, I think. And now we have a special place in our heart for these little rodents. Hi, my name is Christina.
MICHAEL REYES: My name is Michael. And we are Thumbelina's parents.
CHRISTINA REYES: And this is Thumbelina. Our lives just revolve pretty much around Thumbelina. She loves to snuggle with her dad. But she talks back to him a lot. So she's always sort of grumbling. Like, they have a little relationship there.
So she does have different relationships with us. She's the sweetest with both of us, which is rare in this type of animal. We got lucky that we both interacted with her so much, plus her little mix of personality, that she's really good with both of us.
MICHAEL REYES: I know you don't want to take your morning medicine. I know you don't want to take your morning medicine.
CHRISTINA REYES: That's mommy's apple.
MICHAEL REYES: But you always share with mommy. I think she should share with you.
CHRISTINA REYES: Mommy's apple.
MICHAEL REYES: Are you having the best time ever? Are you having the best time ever?
CHRISTINA REYES: We rescued her when she was a couple of hours old. We just fell in love with her. You know, she's our baby. She requires so much work and so much attention. She's gone through so many obstacles medically. I feel like it crushed us more to see her go through her surgeries and to go through everything that she's gone through.
And she was a little fighter the whole time. She started out in her little rehabilitation journey just like any of our other squirrels. And as the weeks went by, we just started realizing that she didn't hit those milestones that all the other babies would hit-- so jumping, climbing, things like that. Time went on, and--
MICHAEL REYES: Just didn't develop.
CHRISTINA REYES: --figuring it out, yeah.
MICHAEL REYES: She didn't develop the survival skills that we can identify, that squirrels need in order to survive outside.
CHRISTINA REYES: So we've sort of embraced it. And she's just a part of our family now.
We're making Thumbelina's, one of her favorite little snacks, fig snacks. So her two upper incisors and one of her lower incisors is missing. So we try to make her things to make her feel like a real squirrel. It makes her really happy to be able to do that. So figs is one of her favorites.
MICHAEL REYES: We always name all of our squirrels. Usually it takes about a week or so, so we can get an idea of their personality. When Thumbelina was, I think she was about two days old, and I had a walnut shell. There was the story of Thumbelina. It was about a little tiny princess. And her bed was in a little tiny walnut. And so I said, I wonder-- I wonder if she would fit in it. And lo and behold, she fit right in it. And we have some pictures-- that was one of the first pictures that we ever took of her.
CHRISTINA REYES: So her social media really started to grow. I had just thousands of pictures on my phone.
MICHAEL REYES: Just like any other parents.
CHRISTINA REYES: And then it just turned into, we found it funny. So we're like, maybe somebody else will find it funny. One, two, three! Go get it!
MICHAEL REYES: Let's show everyone you are a good girl.
CHRISTINA REYES: OK, we're not biting the remotes. Get off that remote.
MICHAEL REYES: I think we enjoy sharing her with everyone because of the response that we get, you know, like she's so cute. And we love watching her every day. But then we started to get ones from people who were, like, going through some tough times.
CHRISTINA REYES: Somehow in some weird way, you're making a difference in people's lives, people that-- we had a woman who was sick with cancer, or somebody that's lost a loved one, or even if it's just a birthday wish. You just feel like you're doing something to help people by being able to just share her.
MICHAEL REYES: All right, come on, Thumb. We got to do that cameo. All right, Janine, so Thumbelina made you your own birthday card all by herself. She didn't want any help. Thumbelina wants to wish you the happiest, happiest birthday ever, and most importantly, let you know that we love you the most. Happy birthday, Janine. Great job, Thumb.
CHRISTINA REYES: So I think there's different reasons why she resonates with people. She's just like, unlike, I guess, any little animal we've ever cared for. She makes us feel better when we're sad. Animals always know. So I feel like we just have, just a bond. Like, I know what she's thinking. She knows what I'm thinking. And everything about her, I love. She's my little best friend.