FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Twiggy the water-skiing squirrel has traveled the world, and gone to Hollywood more than once. Now she’s at the Fort Wayne Home and Garden Show.
Her story and performance has a meaning. When tragedy struck the Best family,Twiggy’s message turned to water safety.
Lou Ann Best and her family rescued their first squirrel orphan in 1978 after a rain storm. The idea of teaching it how to water ski came after Best’s husband bought their daughter a remote-control boat.
“He got teased so much for buying the boat, and he’s the one playing with it all the time,” Best said. “He figured he needed to come up with another excuse for driving the boat all the time.He said I have to learn to drive it so I can teach my squirrel to water ski with it.”
The press got a hold of the story, and the rest is history. The Best Family started traveling with Twiggy. Twiggy has gone around the world, to places like Paris and Germany. She’s also appeared in half a dozen movies.
Then, in 1997 Best’s husband died while trying to save someone from drowning. After that, Best realized the squirrels came into their lives through divine intervention.
“I believe with all my heart and soul that the Lord put this nutty idea into my husband’s head,” Best said. “He knew my husband was going to pass in a boating accident because of the absence of life jackets.”
The focus of Twiggy’s performance is now water safety– wearing a life jacket, and learning how to swim or even float.
“I’ve carried on, and I encourage everyone to wear their life jackets on a boat just like you wear your seat belts in your car all the time just in case,” Best said.
All of the ‘Twiggys’ Best has rescued have been orphans. After they are done with water skiing they live out the rest of their years as a family pet.
Nearly 40 years ago the first Twiggy came into the Best’s lives after a storm. More storms have hit the family, and Twiggy has always been there. But after 39 years Best is retiring Twiggy from touring this year.
You can catch performances from Twiggy the Water-Skiing Squirrel this weekend at the Fort Wayne Home and Garden Show. On Friday and Saturday she will perform at 12:30, 3:30 and 6:30. On Sunday she will perform at 12:30 and 3:00.