I grew up on a 27 acre farm in Maryland and spent weekends at our larger farm in West Virginia. There, we had over 200 acres of mountains, a creek, a family (not our family) graveyard and all the wildlife you could handle.
My childhood was spent with mud pies, Barbie dolls, tire swings, and treehouses. We also rescued every animal that came into our yard.
My mother was Cherokee and said, “You never have to look for an animal, if he needs you, he will find you.”
This is how I grew up.
A few weeks ago, Steve called and said he was bringing me a present. In the background, I could hear alien like noises that didn’t sound like a handful of wildflowers (my favorite) a diamond ring or a box of chocolates. When I asked him what it was, he told to wait and see.
When he came home an hour later, he was carrying two baby raccoons, about three weeks old! They were squealing like banshees! I was terrified of these loud, wild animals until I got a closer look.
They were orphaned, hungry and about to be put down when Steve intervened.
I did all sorts of research about baby raccoon care so we started bottle feeding them with the intention of releasing them when they were 12-14 weeks old.
The next day, I was in love!
I knew they were wild animals and one could never really own a wild animal could they? I also knew that being wild, they may one day turn on me so I tried not to get too attached.
I made sure they were warm, had plenty of fresh water and I would hide food from them so they could learn how to forage on their own once they were released.
As the days went by, I would go out in the yard to check on them and find them high up in the trees and when they heard my voice, they would scurry down to “find” their breakfast that I had hidden on the nearby woodpile.
Now after a couple of months, they have a home in our back yard and our back porch. They have plenty of land to roam, plenty of fresh water and food and fruit trees galore! They are in paradise!
I had no idea that they would purr like kittens when you pet them or that they would chase a ball like a puppy. They love to be rolled on their backs and have their tummys tickled, just like a dog.
In watching these lovable little creatures, I have learned some lessons from them that I thought pertained to life in general.
5 Things A Racoon Taught Me About Life
1. Climb High
Always reach for the highest branch and don’t be afraid to take a risk!
2. If You Fall Down~Get Back Up
Sure, you are going to fall down in life, but get up, shake it off and try again.
3. Be Curious
Never lose your sense of curiousity! Always be open to learn more, do more and be more adventurous!
4. Be Playful
Always find time to play! Life is to be enjoyed and every day should include some type of playtime. Why are kids the only ones who get to have recess? You are never too old to climb a tree.
5. Grapes Are Good
If there is one thing a raccoon likes to eat, it’s a grape! Eat healthy foods and take care of your body. Grapes are very filling and a delicious snack that you can eat anytime.
Lisa V. Proulx