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

 

398 comments

Tanya W
Tanya W2 months ago

Thank you for sharing

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Tanya W
Tanya W2 months ago

What a beautiful boy he is. Such sad beginnings and hard to see, but wonderful to see Harbour rescued and in blissful play.

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Christine S
Christine Stewart5 months ago

I love this happy little guy!

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Christine S

MaryEllen, I am glad you found a way to keep Harbor safe, and so sad that you were deemed a criminal by a bunch of ignorant folks. His video really does make me smile...

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Serena Alonzi
5 years ago

so sad, happy ending :) thanks for rescuing him

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Maureen S.
Maureen S6 years ago

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.

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MaryEllen S.

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.

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Christine Stewart

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

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Maureen S.
Maureen S7 years ago

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

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Mary B.
Mary B7 years ago

Some good always happens when people care

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