Teddy's Burial and Resurrection: The Unique Life of a Tennessee Raccoon
Laying the Groundwork
This is a true account of a crazy little character that I had the pleasure of knowing and loving, that is after we got off to a rocky start. I hope you'll enjoy this story about my pet raccoon, "Teddy;" what a character!
Spring Has Sprung
It was an early spring day, and I was sitting on the back deck at our home watching the swirling waters of the swimming pool below, which had only been open for a short time. The water was still extremely cold, but the therapeutic value was present in the fact that the swirling clear water was the best medicine for the eyes of a man who had been trapped inside by the Winter's chill.
I Meet Teddy For the First Time
As I sat there by the pool, drinking in the rippling sound of the water and the humming of the pool's motor, a niece, named Vickie, who worked at a veterinarian's office, appeared on the deck with a small cage. Inside of the cage was a very nervous baby raccoon. Vickie said affectionately, "Hey old man, do you want a baby raccoon?" This was a trap and I knew it, but my affection for animals was ravenous, so I said, "Where's its mother?" Vicky replied, "she was accidentally killed, and the baby needs a home." As my wife sat beside me, she was shaking her head negatively, because she knew what was in store; knowing that we would be taking care of a stinky baby raccoon, and of course, I said, "Yes, I want him."
Attack of the Killer Raccoon
It was a tough beginning, for when I opened the cage and reached in, I was immediately attacked by teeth and sharp nails. Everyone cringed and said, "Get your hand out of there," but it had already progressed beyond that point, for I had to let this miniature tornado know who was boss and who would love him no matter what it did to me. It also helped because I was old, and my hands were hard and calloused. When I finally tried to take my hand out of his snarling, biting mouth, there was no letting go of the baby raccoon, since I didn't have him; he had me. The little creature held on like a small vise with sharp teeth, but after a little rubbing and a bottle of formula, there was only an occasional return to the sharp teeth and claws, and he went to sleep while I fed him.
Teddy Claims My Shop as His
I was determined not to make "Teddy," be a prisoner, confined in a cage, so he was placed in my woodworking shop with a soft bed, water, and food. I would venture out to the shop and let Teddy come to me. He soon became at home there and started stealing small tools, screws, washers, and anything he could pick up.
Teddy refused to bed down in the soft bed, but climbed into the attic area, along with all his stolen stash. When I thought Teddy was ready, I released him into the wooded area behind my house, but he didn't leave. He lived in the woods but visited me on the back deck every night to get his favorite food, potato chips. He was certainly a chomper and a smacker, and there was nothing I could do to improve his raccoon etiquette, so I chomped and smacked with him. It must have sounded like a young war going on out there.
As fate would have it, one morning, my youngest daughter ran into the house yelling, "Teddy's dead!" When I nervously went out to see for myself, I saw a raccoon on the roadway, deceased. In a very emotional state, I retrieved the dead animal from the road, rubbed its fur and wept there by the roadway, as I hugged my dead raccoon. Many cars slowed down to watch this strange phenomenon, including a number of my neighbors, but I didn't care, "I would cry over my raccoon if I wanted to."
Shortly thereafter, I led a funeral procession of one; me, as I carried Teddy to a beautiful spot in the woods and gave him a burial ceremony a raccoon would be proud of. I buried the animal and put up a little marker up for it.
Still grieving that night, I went out on the deck and sat under the stars, wondering if raccoons go to heaven. After a short time, I was jolted by sharp claws on my leg. As I jumped and looked at my leg in fear, there stood Teddy, as alive as could be! It seems I had cried and grieved over a stranger, but at least the other raccoon got a decent burial.
After all this drama, Teddy visited me several times to eat his potato chips but finally stopped coming to see me. I hope he met someone and raised a family, but I'll never know. To end this article on a happy note, watch the video below.
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© 2019 Gerry Glenn Jones