“I had never seen or heard of such a relationship before …”
When Teddy the raccoon first arrived at Woodside Wildlife Rescue in June of 2022, rescuers knew the sick, orphaned boy would need lots of attention and love. Though he was dehydrated and suffering from canine parvovirus, Teddy’s amiable spirit still managed to shine through.
“His demeanor was always sweet and gentle,” Paula Woodside, director and founder of Woodside Wildlife Rescue, told The Dodo. “Because of his illness, [he] required a lot of hands-on and supportive care.”
As Teddy recovered, rescuers allowed him more freedom throughout the center’s property. Woodside often walked with Teddy as he explored the grass and trees. One day, the animal advocate was stunned to notice Teddy interacting with Ozzie, a playful rescue otter who’d also arrived at the center earlier that spring.
“Ozzie surprised us by pouncing on Teddy as we walked by some bushes,” Woodside said. “Once Teddy and I realized it was all in good fun and not a serious attack, we all relaxed and allowed them to develop their friendship organically.”
Woodside couldn’t believe that the pair were getting along so well.
“I had never seen or heard of such a relationship before, and I was very surprised at their first meeting,” Woodside said.
From then on, Ozzie and Teddy were inseparable.
“They would seek each other out as soon as their enclosures were opened in the morning, and they would spend their days together running the property, in the yard, in the woods and down at the pond,” Woodside said. “They’d wrestle and chatter the day away. I do believe they understood and cared deeply for each other.”
Eventually, both Teddy and Ozzie were ready for release.
Ozzie joined two other rescue otters in a habitat near the center. In the months following his release, Woodside occasionally noticed Ozzie and his new family swimming through a river in the area.
Since Teddy was still experiencing lasting complications from parvovirus, rescuers allowed him a soft release on the center’s 20-acre property. Woodside staff still monitor Teddy via game cameras and provide supplemental food for him at the center, should he need it.
Back where they belong, Ozzie and Teddy are thriving. Though they’re no longer quite so close, it’s clear that this duo’s unlikely friendship changed each of their lives for the better.