Some people have a way with animals. Derrick Downey Jr. has a way with a species usually not too fond of humans: squirrels.
The Los Angeles resident documents his usual and heartwarming interactions with the wild animals on social media.
His first interaction was with two squirrels he named Richard and Maxine.
“It started with Richard going across my fence, and he stopped for a second. I looked at him, and I was like, ‘Hey, buddy. You hungry?’” Derrick told Inside Edition’s Andrea Swindall.
“So I reached my hand up, and he grabbed my hand and pulled it closer to his mouth to grab the food. So from there, I was like, ‘Okay, maybe he was listening to me.’ There’s something here.”
Richard and Maxine are the stars of Derrick’s TikTok videos. But several others make appearances, all with hilarious names.
“Listen, I am from North Carolina,” Derrick said. “I am very much country. So, the names that they have are rooted in just old Black country names. Now Niblet, that’s a little different, but Nibblyne, Maxine, Richard, Hood Rat Raymond, come on now.”
In his videos, Derrick talks to the squirrels, pets them and has built a home for them. The squirrels even rap and are a part of funny news segments.
Having squirrels as friends has been entertaining for Derrick. He shares that it’s also a part of his mental health journey.
“So I was dealing with health issues, which caused me to go down a dark space,” he said.
“My escape for that was to go outside, walk around, and connect with nature. In that came the relationships that I started building with Richard and Maxine and all the other squirrels. It’s still a space that I haven’t figured out completely, but the healing happened with me just being in nature.”
For others struggling in life, he stresses that everyone’s journey is different, which is okay.
WATCH A FEW OF THE VIDEOS BELOW:
@derrickdowneyjr Almond Butter For The Win #foryou #squirreltok #animals ♬ original sound – Derrick Downey Jr
@derrickdowneyjr Motherly love #animalrescue #squirrels #babysquirrels #wildlife #wildpets #nature ♬ original sound – Derrick Downey Jr
@derrickdowneyjr Y’all!!! The babies are here!!! They’re finally out of the nest and roaming freely. Best believe we still gonna find out who the father is and that’s on squirrel!! Until then, I need to find out what their names are because Maxine haven’t shown me their birth certificate yet #nibbledown #squirrels #foryou #fyp ♬ original sound – Derrick Downey Jr
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