Today on Care2 I uncovered some very interesting and happy rescue accounts
of raccoons. I guess for you who have had your garbage cans tipped over by
industrious raccoons, these stories may be of little interest. Living in an asphalt
city jungle like so many of us, I don't have that problem and all I see is these
cute animals wearing bandit-type masks. But then, I still hope that all of us see yet
another wild creature of God who has basic needs like the rest of us.
I'm sorry if any of you have been bitten by one and had feared the possibility of him
or her being rabid. Yes, that is scary. Last night on the new doctor segment, a woman
was bitten by a rabid bat without knowing it. From this account I learned that unless
you report a suspected rabid bite immediately, the consequences usually mean death.
She and her boyfriend had slept under the stars on a camping trip and she was bitten
then- unbeknownst to her. Now, days later the horrible symptoms of this disease had
manifested itself. And because of this lateness in addressing it, the doctors could do
nothing to save her life. She could have been treated from the outset had she reported
the bite immediately, but once the symptoms appeared it was too late to do anything
As a footnote - I hope that we all realize by now that not all bats are rabid and that
the healthy ones are even a necessary and indispensable adjunct to a healthy environment.
At one time I feared them because of faulty, scarry, and erroneous information re them.
I now see them as friends of nature and us. But how any animal -bat, raccoon, or dog
becomes rabid is something I really don't understand or know at this point.
I loved LAURIE RAYMOND'S story of freeing a raccoon from a leghold trap. Years ago
she was the director of Paws in Lynnwood, Washington. This organization not only
had a dog and cat shelter, but an advocacy department and a wildlife clinic as well.
One evening in fall she received a call from a woman who reported that she and her
young son while hiking came upon a raccoon caught in a leghold trap, and they didn't
even begin to know how to help him get out.
Having dealt with raccoons before, Raymond had learned to have a healthy respect
for them as they are known for their formidable fierceness. Still, she asked the woman
to stay where she was and hopefully, she and another staff member would be out there
No one volunteered to go with her, so she went out alone. It was almost dark when
the woman and her son led her to the very large raccoon who was trapped. She approached
him quietly and with soothing tones told him she was going to help him. She managed
to work the loop of her snare pole around his body and under one arm so that she could
lift his upper body. In this way, she could work on his trapped hind leg withut him being
able to get at her.
She showed the woman how to hold the snare pole while she worked on the trap. The
raccoon was near a creek and she crossed the creek approaching the raccoon's hind leg.
He made one attempt to pull away but then settled in stoically. Kneeling in the creek,
she tried to pry open this rusty trap and found very little success in the way of progress
Using her all purpose tool to pry at the jaws, suddenly she felt a difference in pole
tension, and to her surprise, saw his face just inches from hers. The woman who was
suppose to be holding the pole steady had moved away and let go of the pole because
her son had slipped into the creek. Coming back to hold the pole, she became
frightened when the raccoon moved and backed away.
Luckily, the raccoon had seemed to understand the situation and probably realized that
Raymond was his only hope. Finally, she was able to spring the trap. And then she writes:
"The raccoon looked at me, then at his freed leg. Without moving away, he picked it up in
his hands and examined it carefully, then put it in the water and moved his foot, and
finally his toes."
Raymond released the snare and the raccoon scuttled up the bank, stopped and gave
her a long look back. She thought it meant "Thanks, catch you later," and then he
disappeared. She felt that the raccoon's leg was going to heal and the feeling that
she had saved him made this event rank as a high point in her years of animal rescue.
And even now -years later, the memory is vivid and sweet for her. And indeed it should
be. She did something good for a needy animal few of us would have the courage to do.
The next account involves RACHEL JETTY of Maine. I admired that as a kid she said
they had a pet raccoon and before that her family lived in a campground that had
five raccoons. She learned from these experiences with them to not be afraid of
raccoons and then made this observation: "They are smart, mischievous and very,
A few years later she had moved from Maine to Rhode Island where she landed a job
as manager for a sub shop chain. One day while helping a guest at the sub shop, the
patron mentioned that there was a family of raccoons in a dumpster across the street
near the professional plaza. She also mentioned that they had been in that dumpster
for quite awhile. Jetty immediately realized that this must be a very hot place to be
for those poor raccoons in the middle of summer.
She was disappointed to learn that all the people in that building knew about them, and
instead of trying to help them, were even warning each other to stay away from the
dumpster. Great people! All they cared about was their own comfort and no one else's.