Women Save a Raccoon’s Life, and Three Years Later, He Keeps Coming Back to Them, a Tale of Enduring Connection

Three years ago, Nikki Robinson found a little raccoon by the road. She saved him and after a bunch of attempts at taking him to wildlife centers and vets, Nikki was disappointed in the lack of help. However, her mother Linda has had experience raising raccoons and after a little persuasion, took the little critter in. They named him Little Hands and fell in love with the trash panda.

Little Hands needed lots of love and support. Linda and Nikki fed him, raised him, and eventually let him go. To their surprise, Little Hands kept coming back, sometimes after a few days, sometimes a few months. He would come back and ask for snuggles, pets, food, and just love. Neither Nikki nor Linda have ever experienced such a loving raccoon.

Image credits: red_pangolin

“Little Hands was originally found abandoned beside the road at about 4 weeks old. We rescued him from the traffic and tried to find a wildlife rehab that would take him but everywhere was full and all they could offer was to ‘take it to a vet to be euthanized’ or ‘let nature take its course outside.’”

Image credits: red_pangolin

“Instead, he was given to my mom, Linda, who has had some experience raising a raccoon so that it could be released into the wild. Two years earlier, I had picked up from a friend another orphaned raccoon that was found in a similar situation as Little Hands. I have always wanted to work in wildlife rehabilitation, but I was working full time. So, I asked my mom to help with many of the daily feedings. She was hesitant at first, but then I told her it was really in lieu of any grandchildren I would be giving her. Well, once the baby starts nursing from a bottle and looks her in the eye, she melts and it instantly becomes Mama’s coon.”

Image credits: red_pangolin

“So, Little Hands was fostered by Linda. He was released onto her large property and was allowed to come and go as he pleased. He was very fearful of any human or animal that he didn’t grow up with, but would come back to visit us most nights. Linda would leave food out for him every night and sit outside on the porch swing at night before bed, waiting for his visit. He would come less and less, and always at night, as it got colder. Sometimes, we wouldn’t see him for a month, and then on a clear night, he would show up and even let us approach him. But the first thing he would do, sometimes even before sniffing his food, is he would climb over to Linda on the swing, sit beside her, and want pats from her. He liked his lower back and chin rubbed the most.”

Linda fell in love with Little Hands and raised him like a baby

Image credits: red_pangolin

“When we found Little Hands, he was dehydrated, hungry, very scared, but still very feisty. Little Hands stayed with us for about two and a half months before he was fully released into the wild. Little Hands has always been a calmer, peaceful raccoon. Very loving and compassionate, even as he matured. But still wild enough he thrives on his own.”

Little Hands had to be fed very often and needed a lot of care, attention, and love

Image credits: red_pangolin

Image credits: red_pangolin

Image credits: red_pangolin

We asked Nikki what their reaction was when Little Hands returned to them: “Pure joy. And every time he came back it was a more and more joyous occasion especially because he wanted our attention as well as our food which was all that much more special.”

After Little Hands grew up, he was released into the wild to live his full raccoon life

Image credits: red_pangolin

Image credits: red_pangolin

They tell us how many animals they have saved: “I think our total now is over 15 raccoons over 5 years. I’ve also worked with several other animals but none as close as the raccoons. My mom and I would like to open an official wildlife rehabilitation center in the future and I am working on getting more licenses and training for the different species. But in the end, we take the raccoons because no one else will due to their abundance in nature already. Every animal deserves a chance, right?”

But to Linda’s and Nikki’s surprise, Little Hands kept coming back to them

Image credits: red_pangolin

Image credits: red_pangolin

“This has gone on for 3 years! All the other releases have gone wild. The ones that were released at Linda’s house will still come and eat at night, sometimes bring their babies too, but they are scared of us and won’t approach us closely. Little Hands is just special and super adorable!”

Nikki guessed why Little Hands returned to them: “I guess this is always his home. He knows he can come back for an easy meal, but some animals want more than a full stomach. Comfort and love.”

“The best part of saving animals is watching them grow, learn, thrive and mature. The Hardest Part, which is also one of the best parts, is release time. Usually, by the time of release, they’ve already been mostly on their own but still confined in an outdoor enclosure. When the time comes to do our soft release, we don’t know if we may see them again.”

No other raccoon they cared for has come back to visit that often or come up to snuggle with them

Image credits: red_pangolin

Image credits: red_pangolin

Nikki tells us more about herself: “I don’t like being in the spotlight myself, but I can say I’m passionate about animals, of all kinds. I’ve been in the vet field for a few years and we are educated in what we do. I’ve always loved animals and if I’m not working or rescuing them, I’m trying to photograph them in the wild! One day I’d love to be able to fund our rescue by selling photography prints since any wildlife rehab is expensive and 100% self-funded.”

Little Hands is special. It’s been three years and he still comes back for snuggles, scratches, and, of course, food

Image credits: red_pangolin

Image credits: red_pangolin

Image credits: red_pangolin

Image credits: red_pangolin

“The other raccoons that were released at Linda’s house will still come and eat at night, sometimes bring their babies too, but they are scared of us and won’t approach closely. Little Hands is just special, and super adorable!”

Image credits: red_pangolin

Image credits: red_pangolin

“Be smart and safe if you are passionate about wildlife rehab/rescue. We did a lot of research and got licensed to do this where we live. It’s different in all states and countries, so check your laws. This is to protect you and the animal.”

“Be kind. We share the planet with so many creatures that need to be respected. Creatures that we mostly don’t understand, but are capable of complex social systems and emotions we often think are exclusive to humans.”

Sia

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