by Brandyl K., Age 16
, Grade 10, Amery High School, Amery, 54001 USA
My family helps take care of wild animals that lost their families. We have previously and are still currently helping a woman named Tamara, a police officer, near Clam Falls. Tamara treats a variety of animals that arrive into her place. She can get anything ranging from mice to black bears. She had about thirty raccoons there, and she couldn’t hold anymore without being too busy all the time. So, we willingly took three off her hands, to help lighten her work load.
Since they were basically our children for the time being, they needed names. We named the first one, Reginald. I don’t know why I picked the name, but I thought it was a great name for him. The second was Stevie Wonder. His eyes took a while longer to open so he was blind for a while so, we thought the name was perfect. We named the third, Fat Boy. We named him that because he would be the one to eat the most out of all of them.
Raccoons are not the easiest animals to take care of. They always need food and they always need attention. The first three weeks of taking care of them were not fun. If you weren’t giving them milk, then they would climb on their cage and scream the most horrendous scream I have ever. Then, if you were feeding them, they wouldn’t always accept the bottle and they would just end up screaming again.
After those first three weeks, they turned into the best animals I have ever owned, they were basically little furry children; they even had little hands! Every morning for breakfast we would give them a bowl of cereal and for other meals, we could basically give them anything left over from what we ate. This was way easier than having to bottle feed them. We tried to keep them in a cage, but they would dig out every time. So, we just decided to let them do whatever they want. They would usually stick around and maybe leave to go down to the river, but they always came back.
Each raccoon varied in personality. Reginald was by far the nicest, Stevie didn’t really care about anything as long as he was with his brothers, and Fat Boy hated me with a passion. Reginald had some a strong bond with me. He would always go to me over anyone else and he would always want to go wherever I went. Sometimes I would let him chill in the house with me and he would just take a nap on my bed. When I had friends over, he would stick around and hang with us even if his brothers were somewhere else. He was by far by favorite out of all of them. I always knew it was him because he was glued to my legs if he saw me and he loved being flipped upside down. The only reason I could tell which one Stevie was because he was right on me or he didn’t snarl at me. Fat Boy had a grudge against me. He was fine for everyone else, but for me he wouldn’t let me touch him. The raccoons did have one thing in common though— they loved our animals. The cats were the same age as them and they were raised together at the same time. They slept in the same little spot and everything. They especially loved the pug though. The pug is never scared of animals he sees, he just always assumes it is friendly. Thankfully, the boys liked him. They would follow him around and play with his fat.
Raccoons are raccoons, that means they have that predatory instinct. My mother collects chickens. We have way too many and I do not support her in her collecting. Chickens are basically a delicious meal for raccoons. Once they finally killed a chicken, my mom flipped out and decided they had to go— I did not take this well. I cried that night, which is a very rare occurrence and I begged her to keep them around and find a way to secure the chickens better or just get rid of them. But no, she had to keep her stupid chickens around.
We then brought them to a friend’s house where they could stay and then leave when they are ready. They stayed there for a couple of weeks and then disappeared. I missed Reginald the most of all of them. Too bad chickens had to ruin it.