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Parkton woman's children's book chronicles the adventures of Frisbee the squirrel

Parkton woman's children's book chronicles the adventures of Frisbee the squirrel
Diana Woltereck, of Parkton, is the author of "Frisbee's Adventures," an illustrated children's book that is based on her decades of experience rescuing squirrels and returning them to the wild. (Submitted photo)

You might say that the inspiration for author Diana Woltereck's just-released children's book, "Frisbee's Adventures," started back in 1975.

That's when she and her two sons, Hank and Gregory, then 10 and 7, lived in a house in Towson that backed to some woods.

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One warm August day, Woltereck recalls, she "heard a little crying" out back.

She went to investigate and the family's "very nurturing" black Lab, Greta, ran to the woods and came back gently carrying a tiny baby squirrel that she dropped at her mistress's feet.

Then another — and another.

Diana Woltereck, of Parkton, author of "Frisbee's Adventures" and the book's illustrrator Paul Treadway, of Millsboror, Del., will attend a book signing at Greetings and Readings Hunt Valley on Nov. 28 from noon to 1:30 p.m.
Diana Woltereck, of Parkton, author of "Frisbee's Adventures" and the book's illustrrator Paul Treadway, of Millsboror, Del., will attend a book signing at Greetings and Readings Hunt Valley on Nov. 28 from noon to 1:30 p.m. (Submitted photo)

Woltereck saw that the dog had found the three on the ground the base of a tree. Their mother was most likely dead, she knew.

The babies' eyes had not yet opened and, Woltereck recalled, the squirrels "had no hair on them," although there were some maggots.

Then an undergraduate studying Community Health Education at Towson University, Woltereck had no idea where to turn for help, she said, noting that back then there were not the animal rescue groups that exist today.

But the longtime animal lover asked around and it turned out that a relative was a friend of Dr. Arthur Watson, director of the Baltimore Zoo, now called the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.

He instructed Woltereck in how to improvise an incubator, using an empty aquarium and heating pads, and in how to feed the tiny critters around the clock with a formula of goat's milk.

One of the orphans died, but two flourished.

By November, they were "out of the house" and back in the woods, Woltereck says.

And Woltereck was on the community's radar as a squirrel rescuer.

"During Hurricane Sandy we had them coming out of our ears," she said

She refined her technique and stuck to her philosophy that the squirrels were not pets but that her job was to "get them as healthy as possible and let them go."

A squirrel she named Frisbee came into her life about 15 years ago,

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The squirrel suffered seizures and Woltereck, then a registered nurse, living on two acres in Parkton with her second husband, Jim Ralls, consulted Dr. Paul Fox at Mt. Carmel Animal Hospital. At the vet's suggestion, Woltereck increased the calcium in Frisbee's diet and the seizures stopped.

A healthy Frisbee was released. Unlike the others, "He would come up on the back deck and look in the window," Woltereck said.

Frisbee's curiosity and intelligence — two qualities that Woltereck has always admired in squirrels — live on in "Frisbee's Adventures," which Woltereck says was inspired by all the squirrels she has cared for and observed around the world.

Woltereck will attend a book signing Nov. 28 from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Greetings and Reading in Hunt Valley, Hunt Valley Towne Center, 118-AA, Shawan Road. A book signing at the Butler Gallery in Hunt Valley is tentatively set for early November.

Woltereck, who now works in wound care at Greater Baltimore Medical Center, said the book is meant to teach children respect for the nature and habits of squirrels.

The book is illustrated by wildlife portraiture artist Paul Treadway of Millsboro, Del., who will also attend the Nov. 28 book signing.

Woltereck said a second book, "Frisbee Goes to the Beach," is in the works for release next year.

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