"Joey," the pet squirrel that foiled a Meridian home burglary, returns to the wild

Posted at 2:50 PM, Jun 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-19 23:40:05-04

Every time a squirrel goes into Adam Pearl's backyard he checks to see if it's his 'Joey'.

"No, that's one of the little guys," said Pearl as he spied a squirrel in his yard. "Joey is still a fat little guy."

As you may recall, Joey made national, even international headlines earlier this year after warding off a would-be burglar who broke into Pearl's residence and tried to steal his guns. 

"We will have friends and co-workers and sometimes random people come off of the street and ask about Joey," said Pearl.

After noticing Joey wanting to be outside more, even playing with the other squirrels outside of a sliding glass door, Pearl made the difficult decision to start the process of letting Joey go back into the wild.

"We started off by opening the slider window," explained Pearl.

Joey would go outside and then come back in. He did that for a few days, then Pearl went and got a cat door for Joey.

"He went in and out of that for about two weeks. When the sun would come up he would go outside and play and then when the sun went down he would come back in and climb up in his hammock and go to bed," laughed Pearl.

But then, just a few weeks ago, Pearl believes Joey said his goodbyes.

"He was up in the apple tree and climbed down on my shoulder and I gave him a nut and scratched his ears and was kinda hanging out with him for a few minutes and then he hopped back up in the apple tree and was gone. That was it. He didn't come back home that night, so I think that was kind of his last little bye," explained Pearl.

Life without Joey hanging around has been quiet, and while Pearl said he thinks he may have seen Joey once since his fair well, he's happy Joey is living his squirrel life, but he said Joey is welcome back anytime. 

"He's always got a space here. The cat door will still be there. As long as he doesn't bring little Joey's in the house we will be alright," laughed Pearl.