The story of Squirt the otter by Tracy L. Mikowski is heartfelt true story of an orphaned otter that with the help of others found happiness. The author, Tracy L. Mikowski, wrote this book first hand as she was the actual person to rescue and take care of Squirt.
The story begins with Squirt, the otter, alone and scared in a farmer’s field. She is awoken by the nudge of a large dog’s nose. The tiny otter is scooped up by the dog and brought home to his farm. The farmer knew just what to do when he was brought this tiny creature; he had a friend, a zookeeper named Tracy. He took the baby otter to the Clinch Park Zoo in Traverse City, Michigan, where Tracy worked. This little otter stood no chance without Tracy’s help. She was so tiny, that Tracy instantly named him Squirt. Along with Tracy, was her companion, a welsh corgi named Muffin. Squirt and Muffin instantly became the best of friends. Tracy took care of Squirt. As time went on Tracy taught Squirt to swim and breathe underwater. Eventually Squirt outgrew her small pool and Tracy moved her to the zoo with the otter there named Bumper.
Unfortunately heartbreak came as Bumper had hurt his back and was not able to be helped. Bumper was peacefully put down, but that didn’t help the sadness Squirt had. Squirt was lonely, so Tracy had to move her to another zoo with other otters to play with. Tracy searched for the perfect home and found a new facility called the Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks. The main attraction was a large otter exhibit called The Wild Center.
As heartbreaking it was for Tracy to move Squirt, she knew it was the right thing to do. She accompanied Squirt on her flight to her new home. Squirt settled in quite nicely at the Wild Center, and quickly made many otter friends. Tracy knew this was the best life for Squirt.
Tracy is such a great example of a genuinely wonderful zookeeper and animal lover. Her compassion and love for animals saved Squirt’s life and assured she would live happily and healthy.
Thanks to the charming way the story is told and for its inspiring messages, Squirt the Otter received the prestigious Silver Medal in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards. Once you read this book, you will instantly see why.
Tracy L. Mikowski has since left the Michigan area and is now enjoying her life in Alaska with her husband and five dogs. Tracy is such a wonderful person and this was a wonderful story on letting go and as an adult I was truly moved. Thank you Tracy for sharing your powerful message.
Squirt passed away last year. She was over 21 years old when she passed. She lived an incredibly full life. Most of her wild counterparts only reach 10 to 12 years old. She was a beloved animal ambassador for her species, educating hundreds of thousands of visitors over the past 17 years about the habitats, behaviors and lifestyles of North American river otters. We encourage you to see, watch, and read more of our memories of Squirt at https://www.wildcenter.org/squirt/