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Raccoon in Watery Prison: Watch His Rescued Bliss

Raccoon in Watery Prison: Watch His Rescued Bliss

Written by MaryEllen Schoeman of California

Let’s be clear: raccoons do not make good pets. In the hands of anyone other than an experienced owner with the background, education and equipment to meet their needs, they suffer. This is the story of one such raccoon and his rescue….

When  authorities arrived at a marina to impound a boat overflowing with garbage and posing a health hazard to the area, they were shocked at something they found in the under-deck cabin of the boat – an adult raccoon locked in 2 by 2 foot cage, with feces and rotten food six inches deep on the cage floor.

Appalled, they called Mary Cummins, of Animal Advocates.  When she arrived on the scene, they discovered that the door of the cage was sealed shut with encrusted filth and rust. Equipped with bolt cutters and determination, the team cut through the door and moved the raccoon into a carrier. Soon, the owner of the raccoon appeared. He told an all-too-familiar tale of finding a cute baby raccoon, taking it home and discovering that as an adult the animal was too difficult to manage. This ‘owner’ had responded by locking the raccoon in the small cage and not letting him out for four years.

Mary rushed the raccoon to the vet where they determined that he was 80% blind due to poor nutrition, no sunlight and fumes from the accumulated feces and urine. She then turned him over to me, also a rehabilitator, for evaluation for eventual release. I soon found that due to his blindness and other issues caused by his long captivity, a life in the wild would not possible for him.

I named him Harbor, and quickly found that despite his hardships, he was a sweet and gentle soul. His yearning for contact and attention was palpable. After a few days and a few baths and lots of love and reassurance, I released him into a large enclosure that I had custom-bult for him. This is what happened.

I was astounded, and continue to be, at his utterly incredible capacity for joy. He plays, ecstatically, with anything at hand, and accepts everything that comes into his life with an open heart. I have worked with raccoons for many years, and I can honestly say that I have never encountered one who greets each day with such happiness, and who loves so fully and so deeply. He loves his pool, his toys and every single person he meets.

I have learned from Harbor, as well. I have learned that it is possible to come from a place of unimaginable darkness and despair, and still move forward into a life of joy and love; that we do not have to carry our darkness with us, and that every day is a gift.

Brought to you by The Great Animal Rescue Chase. Have you visited our site lately?

 

Related Stories:

Woman Suffers Head Trauma Rescuing Baby Raccoons, Calls it Her “Lucky Day”

Opossum in My Overcoat: How I Saved Her That Night

“I Must Free His Leg”: Raccoon’s Only Hope Is Brave Rescuer

 

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394 comments

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11:18PM PST on Jan 9, 2014

so sad, happy ending :) thanks for rescuing him

5:32PM PDT on Jun 3, 2013

Mary Ellen, I'm terribly sorry to hear you were denied the proper permits to keep Harbor. How anyone can say you're a criminal for rescuing him just boggles the imagination.Thank you for continuing to be his advocate by sending him to a family that can care for him properly.

5:03PM PDT on Jun 3, 2013

I am glad that Harbor has received such love from this site. As some of you may know, the California Department of Fish and Game recently decided that the license under which I held Harbor was not adequate, and rejected my application for the proper license. They told me that since, in their view, I had broken the law by rescuing him in the first place, I was a criminal and therefore not eligible for the proper permits. Further, they intended to seize him and place him in a zoo, where he would not be allowed human contact and would not be allowed to go for walks on his leash. Since I could not let that happen, I was forced to send Harbor to an undisclosed location out of state, for his own protection. He is with people who love him and have experience with raccoons, and is safe. I miss him so much. But I enjoy coming to this site to see how much joy he has brought into people's lives.

3:32PM PDT on Jun 3, 2013

"Baby, turn up the good" and Harbor playing in his pool- once again, the best video ever!

7:27PM PDT on Jul 8, 2012

What a sweet, beautiful soul Harbor is. I've totally fallen in ♥ with him.

11:36AM PDT on Jul 8, 2012

Some good always happens when people care

7:51AM PDT on Jul 8, 2012

Michael B, I understand your frustration at people continuing to mistreat animals and not be punished for it. But Harbor's story is sad in more ways than one. His former owner was a deeply mentally ill person, a hoarder, and was living in squalor right along with Harbor. I think he was so out of touch with reality that he could not see the cruelty he was perpetuating on Harbor. The wonderful Sheriff who found Harbor did try to get help for the man, but you can't force someone to get help if they don't want it, and eventually the man vanished. I hope someday he does get help and a second chance at life, just like Harbor did.

7:10AM PDT on Jul 8, 2012

I understand the desire to keep a positive note. If not here, perhaps a link to the story of what happened to the owner. If nothing, we need stronger laws. If something, then we know society has an interest in compassion.

1:15PM PDT on May 14, 2012

MARY ELLEN, WOULD LOVE TO KEEP IN TOUCH WITH YOU, I WORK WITH ANIMAL REHAB HERE TOO, I AM THE PERSON THAT WROTE YOU THAT I ALSO HAD A ADULT MALE RACCOON. YOU WROTE BACK AND TOLD ME ABOUT THE WORMING AND PARASITES, I DO HAVE A EXOTIC VET HE GETS SHOTS AND WORMING REGULARLY. PRETTY AWESOME ANIMALS! I LOVE IT, JUST HAPPENED TO HAVE PURCHASED THIS GUY BECAUSE THEY WERE GOING TO TRAIN A COON DOG AND OF COURSE I COULDN'T HAVE THAT. SO HE HAS BEEN LIVING IN MY HOUSE FOR ALMOST TWO YEARS NOW, SLEEPS WITH US AND THE WHOLE THING. I HAVE A SMALL ONE NOW I AM BOTTLE FEEDING THEN IT GOES TO A LADY TO TEACH AND RELEASE.
LOVE TO KEEP IN TOUCH WITH YOU, KRISTY

9:47PM PDT on Mar 11, 2012

After a rough hour signing petitions against animal cruelty, I had to stop by and watch "Harbor" play in his pool- I needed that big smile that he brought to my face!

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