Monday, August 11, 2008

I bottle fed a baby raccoon

When we moved from Buffalo to Connecticut, we lived in a very old house in the middle of nowhere. My mother made friends with a lady up the road who lived on a farm. I don't know if they were friends before or after my sisters started dating the lady's sons, but whatever. I was only about four years old at the time, and I don't really care.

The farm had a hen house, and the hen house was being raided on a nightly basis. I don't know if just the eggs were being taken, or if it was worse than that. I do know that they were a blended family with at least 5-7 children to feed. It was not a loss that they could afford.

One night, the man of the house heard a ruckus in the hen house and went out with his shotgun. A huge raccoon was raiding the hen house and he shot her. As she was dying, she gave birth to a bunch of little helpless baby raccoons.

The man of the house was not a bad man, he was protecting the food that they needed to survive. He asked around to find people who were willing and able to take on the baby raccoons, instead of killing them also. My mother has always been a sap for babies and taking in strays, and we took two of them.

Wasn't I cute?

We bottle fed the baby raccoons. We were never able to domesticate them, they remained wild animals. One of them died, despite our efforts. The other one could not get along with our cats and dog. We gave him away to one of my oldest sister's hippie friends. This was 1976. I'll never know what really happened to that little guy. The story I was told is that the hippie friends had him in a car with the windows rolled down, and he freed himself while they were shopping.

Before we gave him away, though, I brought him to my kindergarten's Pet Day. My father and one of his friends brought him to my school that day, and I won "Most Unusual Pet". I also got my picture in the local paper. Thank god it was a very rural town - read "Very White Town" - or I think my family may have had some trouble afterward.

I honestly did not know any better, I was five years old at the time. When the man that was taking my picture asked me my pet's name, I told him straight out, "his name is Tyrone, Tyrone the Coon."

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for ensuring that the only time I've ever been in the paper in my life is when I am uttering a racial slur.


Aunt Becky said...

That is so cute I nearly passed out.

Wide Lawns said...

That is so neat and so cute. What a great story.