The Shoemakers had just moved into their countryside home. But soon enough, they were being woken up night after night by the strange sound of tapping on their porch. Here's their fascinating story…
Sounds In The Night
For the third night in a row, Kelly Shoemaker was woken up in the middle of the night by a haunting noise. A tap-tap-tapping sound coming from outside her home's window. She needed answers, lots of them.
It’s not unusual for people to wake up at the sound of unusual noise, but by now, Kelly was very familiar with it. It was the third night that she’d been woken up to this puzzling sound, and she couldn’t help but feel worried. She had to figure out what was going on.
Where The Story Began
Up until that point, Kelly had lived a pretty normal life. At 26 years old, she had completed graduate school and was happily married to her high school sweetheart. It was a great start to what was looking like a very positive future, and Kelly knew it.
There’s no doubt she was grateful for it. She and her husband, Brad Shoemaker, had their own comfortable apartment, both had cushy jobs and a good income, and after all those years, they were still very much in love. Little did they know, their lives were about to change forever.
A New Addition
Just a year into their picturesque marriage, their lives were turned upside down. Up until that point, Kelly and Brad had shared a special connection, a heavenly romance built on a rock-solid friendship. For years, it had just been the two of them. Until now, that is.
Less than 12 months after they tied the knot, Kelly and Brad got some jaw-dropping news: Kelly was pregnant! The young couple was over the moon, as they had both dreamed of eventually starting a family together one day. And finally, their dream was coming to life.
Their New Journey Begins
Soon enough, their son Jeremy was born. It was a joyous time for the growing family, but both Brad and Kelly knew that the size of their family wasn’t the only thing likely to change. They would have to make more adjustments to accommodate their young son.
And that started with their home. They loved their city apartment, but it wasn’t even close to a picture-perfect family home. They needed more space for Jeremy and his belongings. Kelly was stressed out by the prospect of raising their child in a small apartment, and Brad knew that something had to be done.
The Big Move
Brad suggested that they buy a house, something large enough for a growing family and far enough out of the city that they’d have plenty of space. Kelly jumped at the idea - the countryside seemed like the perfect place to raise a family in the right way.
Yes, it was going to be a big change for the young couple and their son, but they were ready to move out of the bright lights of the big city and into a quiet and peaceful place of their own. And though they found a home that seemed perfect, they soon felt like they had made a big mistake.
The Shoemakers soon found a beautiful house that felt like the ideal place for them. It even had a large backyard fringed with trees, which gave the house some privacy and gave Jeremy plenty of space to play. But after purchasing the house, they soon realized the yard had other inhabitants.
The small family wasn’t the only ones who loved the beautiful trees in the backyard. There were also squirrel families that had made the trees their home, and little Jeremy was endlessly entertained while watching the furry little animals. But Kelly wasn’t pleased.
A Bad Sign
In fact, the presence of all of these squirrels in their backyard put Kelly somewhat on edge. She had grown up in the city and spent her adult life living in metropolitan apartments - something about sharing their property with wild animals, however small, didn’t sit well with her.
It didn't take long before she broached the subject with Brad. "A scurry of squirrels can attract a predator," she informed him. As a new mom, she was understandably preoccupied with her young son's safety, and she just wasn't sure that sharing the backyard with squirrels was safe.
Keeping Their Guards Up
And perhaps Kelly’s statement wasn’t wrong. There were wild animals in the areas near where the Shoemakers lived, and the family’s open yard could be prime real estate for predators. This is why she was frustrated to hear that Brad didn’t share her concerns.
In his eyes, their son was perfectly safe playing in their backyard. He was still very young, so he never really left his parent's sight. Nothing could happen if they were always there to keep their eyes on him, right? Unfortunately, Brad didn't stay so confident for long.
The Late-Night Lurker
One rainy night some months later, Brad and Kelly and their young son were fast asleep. Then, out of nowhere, a sound broke out in the middle of the night. The noise was loud enough that it could even be heard over the rain, which Kelly and Brad found deeply concerning.
The alarmed couple jumped out of bed, terrified for their and their son's safety. Brad led the way, and Kelly followed close behind with her husband's baseball bat. They weren't about to let anyone or anything catch them unaware in their own home. Or so they thought...
Putting On A Brave Face
Brad and Kelly moved through the house, being careful not to wake their son, as they didn’t want to upset him if it turned out to be nothing. Brad was the first one to make it to the front door, with his wife following close behind. They both held their breath, worried about what lay on the other side.
The steadfast couple stood close together as they carefully opened the door. There was... nothing there - certainly no person or animal that they could see… at least, not at first. That was, until they heard a noise and looked down to see something awful at their feet.
A Neighbor In Need
On the ground in front of them was a tiny, wounded squirrel writhing in pain on their doorstep. Kelly had been right - there were predators nearby, and one of them had attacked this poor animal. While they stared at it in shock, the little creature let out a yelp.
That was the moment that Kelly’s maternal instinct kicked in. The squirrel was badly hurt and completely helpless, lying on their front porch. While she disliked the constant presence of squirrels in their backyard, she couldn’t ignore its suffering. So she did something that would have a much bigger impact than she thought.
Taking Her In
And so the concerned couple went inside to fetch supplies, returning with latex gloves to clean the squirrel and sterilize its wounds. They even went a step further and bandaged its leg completely to help it heal. Then, to Kelly’s amazement, they both agreed to take things a step further.
Kelly and Brad didn’t want to leave the little thing on its own, possibly at the mercy of another predator. So they agreed to bring the squirrel into their home where it would have time to recover. They wrapped it in a small blanket and found a box for it to sleep in until they could take it to the vet.
So the little squirrel stayed with the Shoemakers, slowly recovering from the attack. But after months of living in the house, long after she had made a full recovery, it seemed that Lily (the name they’d given the squirrel) had joined the family. And Jeremy couldn’t be happier.
The little boy adored the tiny squirrel, and the two were fast friends. Despite all her previous fears about having squirrels near the house, seeing her son bond with this unusual pet made her genuinely happy. But there was still room for worry… because, in her eyes, Lily would eventually have to return to the wild. Right?
After months of fun, Kelly and Brad made a decision. It was time to send little Lily back where she belonged. They explained the situation to Jeremy, who, of course, was heartbroken by the news. But they helped him to understand that Lily belonged out in nature, more than she belonged with him.
Of course, it was going to take a long time for Jeremy to fully understand why they had to let go of his new friend. But he allowed his parents to take Lily outside in a box, where they were going to let her out. They said their farewells and watched her bound away into the trees.
A Familiar Sound
Days passed, and though Lily’s absence was sharply felt by Jeremy, the family was finally returning to normal. His parents had no regrets about sending her out into the wild, but they also felt a noticeable loss. The tiny squirrel had been a wonderful addition to the family, if only temporarily.
Just as they began to settle back into their regular squirrel-less routine, Brad and Kelly’s lives were suddenly disrupted for a second time. Once again, it was a strange noise coming from outside of the house that roused them from their sleep. A steady and familiar tap-tap-tap.
What Was It?
It was the same tap that the Shoemakers had heard on that fateful night months earlier when they had found a wounded squirrel curled up on their front porch. Not long after the noise started, just as loud as it was the first time, Kelly and Brad woke up.
The moonlight was streaming through their bedroom window, and the groggy couple both sat up at the same time. Their eyes met, and they saw each other’s shocked expressions. They hadn’t been dreaming - the noise was very much there, echoing through the house.
Without thinking too much, Kelly and Brad both leaped out of their shared bed and tumbled down the stairs. They threw the door open, wondering if they might see a familiar furry body in front of them - but there was nothing there. The stunned couple returned to bed.
But that wasn’t the end of the strange noises. After a month of silence, the couple was awoken again by the persistent sound of tapping coming from outside their home. Again, they rushed to the front porch to catch the source of the noise, and again they found nothing. Would they ever find the source?
Believe it or not, they would find the cause of the sound eventually. But it was going to be a long wait. The tapping continued, on and off, and after many close calls, the couple just ignored it. Soon years had passed, and the family moved on with life. By now, Jeremy was in 5th grade and Kelly was on the way to finishing her PhD.
In fact, it had been eight long years since they first heard the sound, and it hadn’t let up yet. Eventually, Brad went all in and bought security cameras to set up around the house, eager to catch the late-night visitor. And it worked. One day, Kelly saw something strange on the camera monitor…
A Shock In The Night
Kelly couldn’t believe what she was seeing. She ran up the stairs, crying out to her sleeping husband. Brad and Jeremy, now ten years old, both stirred from their sleep and followed the excited Kelly through the house. She led them to the camera she had been watching.
At first, Brad was skeptical. "It's two in the morning, Kelly," he said. "What is it?" His wife simply pulled up the screens she had been looking at and motioned for her husband and son to look. And sure enough, Brad was equally stunned by the footage on the screen.
Making The Connection
He was so stunned that he couldn’t hold back a gasp. Brad was having such a hard time believing what was on the screen that he had to zoom in to get a closer look. He wrapped one arm around his emotional wife, who was holding young Jeremy close to her.
And even Jeremy understood what was happening when he saw the footage of a squirrel gently tapping on their porch. A very familiar squirrel. "Lily?" he whispered, looking at his parents. Kelly nodded. The squirrel on the screen was bigger now, with a thicker coat, but they were sure it was her.
Searching For Her
After a brief stint of tapping on the porch, the squirrel disappeared, running up the rafter and out of sight of the camera in a flash. But the Shoemakers couldn’t let go of what they had seen. Where had she run off to? And why had she been tapping on the porch for so many nights over the past 8 years?
Jeremy had a bright idea that might help them track the animal. "Change cameras," he told his father. And so Brad reverted to the main camera monitor, which gave them a view of the front of their house. The family kept their eyes peeled, watching the screen with bated breath.
Closer & Closer
And soon enough, Jeremy caught a glimpse of Lily - his first best friend and first pet. “There,” he announced proudly, pointing at a dot on the screen. And just like that, after all those years, the family knew where Lily had been rushing off to after all those nights spent tapping on the porch.
She had squeezed herself in between two tiles on the roof. "Attic," Kelly cried once she realized what lay behind the tiles. The trio all looked at each other, and without a word, they rushed down the hall and up the stairs to the attic at the top of the house.
Hiding in the Attic
Once they reached the attic, they began to search, urgently but carefully, for Lily the squirrel. Soon enough, they saw some movement in the corner of the attic. There was Lily - but that wasn’t what surprised them the most. No, what they didn’t expect was the three kittens nestled beneath her.
After years of wondering what had happened to the injured squirrel they had once saved and what was causing the strange sound that woke them up at night, they finally had the answer to both questions. But now, looking at Lily and the three felines tucked beneath her legs, they were more interested in the sight before them.
An Unusual Reunion
It seemed hard to believe, but Lily had been feeding and caring for the three little kittens. Watching the sight filled Kelly with emotion, and she felt her eyes well with tears. "This is amazing," she told Brad and Jeremy as they watched the sweet sight. Without a word, Jeremy slipped downstairs.
He returned quickly with a surprise under his arm - the very same blanket that Kelly and Brad had used to keep Lily warm that night they had rescued her eight years ago. Kelly felt a warm surge of pride as she watched her son hand them the blanket. "We are a family again, Mom," he told her.
Expanding the Family
The Shoemakers couldn’t help but feel that Lily needed their help, just as she did eight years earlier when she had been injured. They were eager to help her look after the three little kitties, so they set up a basket full of soft blankets that the four animals could share.
The next day, Brad set to work clearing out and cleaning up the attic. They didn’t want to move Lily and her kittens, so they wanted to make the attic as comfortable as possible for the quartet. They even gave the kittens names: Jossie, Alen, and Cliff!
Paying It Forward
In the days that followed, the family ruminated on what all of this meant. They realized that the tapping on their front porch had been Lily, who had likely kept close to the family home by living in the attic. And she had clearly taken in these three kittens and dedicated herself to looking after them.
Kelly was inspired by Lily’s care for the kittens. It was rare to see an animal show compassion for other animals, just as some humans did for them. After all, they had cared for Lily when she needed them - and now Lily was doing the same for these three helpless kittens.
But the Shoemakers weren't the only ones who were inspired by Lily's generous spirit. The family had shared their story on social media, and it quickly caught the attention of millions of viewers. They were charmed by the story of the heroic squirrel that had tried to get the family's attention for so many years.
No surprise, most people love heartwarming stories and cute animals, so the combination of the two was a big win. Instantly, the story went viral, spreading through the internet like wildfire. Soon enough, people were even asking to visit the Shoemakers, so they could meet Lily and her kittens.
Shifting The Narrative
Another wonderful lesson came out of Lily’s interesting story. For decades people have seen squirrels as pests, unwanted visitors who damage property and take over parks and backyards. But Lily was living proof that perhaps these animals could be so much more.
It helped that she not only showed compassion and selflessness that is not always seen in the animal kingdom, but she also acted like a domesticated pet. The family insisted that from that very first night that they found Lily, they could sense that she was grateful for them. And now they were going to help her again.
And not just by helping her raise her kittens, but also by bringing attention to the plight of squirrels around the world. In recent times the animal population has rapidly declined, especially in England. This is due to habitat destruction, traffic accidents, and direct human activity.
Because many people think of squirrels as "disease-carrying" animals, they are not protected, leaving them at risk of rat traps and attacks from cats and dogs. But not only are squirrels capable of being loving and domestic creatures, but they also help the environment by spreading plant seeds.
And the Shoemakers are eager to spread the word of the species' important environmental impact, in honor of heroic Lily. "If Lily can teach at least one person to have compassion for all living things, no matter how big or how small," Kelly Shoemaker said. "Then we have done what we have set out to."
And thanks to their viral story, millions of people are paying more attention to these helpful little animals. Not only has it raised awareness for squirrels, but it has shown people that even showing love and compassion to a single squirrel can lead to better things - and can help make the world a better place...