It was a stormy evening when we received a call from a neighbor regarding a half dead baby raccoon. We had him immediately bring it over and the tiny girl was cold and barely breathing. Found abandon and gasping for air while drowning, we feared the worst but turned her upside down and started massaging her chest. Within seconds a stream of water ran out of her mouth and nose and she began breathing a bit easier. Still freezing cold we wrapped her up and put her on a heating pad. Within an hour she was warm and began crying, a good sign.
Not knowing when her last meal was, it was a good guess that she might be hungry. Her eyes weren’t even open yet so it was going to be a tiny baby bottle. The first feeding did not go well to say the least. She was extremely hungry but was still wheezing from almost drowning. Formula would go in, then quickly spew from both her mouth and nose. Feed time would be a tediously long process. Because of how undeveloped she seemed, and how much dirty water and formula that had entered her lungs, repeatedly, we started her on a course of antibiotics.
After about a week, she was eating a bit better, but still had wheezing in her lungs and not growing much, even though we had increased the number of times she was being fed a day. In addition to her internal problems, she had been covered in fleas, to which she was allergic. For about a week the poor little girl was getting a combination of flea baths and oatmeal baths to get rid of the fleas and combat the itchiness of her reaction. Since she was still wheezing and still had skin problems, a trip to the vet was warranted.
By now her eyes were open and she was constantly crying when not being held, despite her constant teething and suckling on her stuffed bear buddy. It seemed that nothing but cuddling with us gave her much comfort, despite trying not to let her bond with us. As cute as she was, we were hoping to release her back to the wild where raccoons truly belong. The vet gave her new antibiotics, flea meds, and another appointment for the following week. While the new antibiotic seemed to have improved the sound of her lungs, she developed another odd noise while she drank from her bottle. If that wasn’t enough, her fleas seemed to be gone but she suddenly started losing fur on her legs and had a weird odor.
Vet visit number two reviled a small problem with her trachea which resulted in the decision to get her off the bottle immediately and start her on solids. Not a fun process at all! As if that wasn’t enough, a skin scraping revealed mites, so shots were required. While most raccoons would consider all the baths, oral meds, and shots as torture and reason to avoid humans, this tiny girl took the attitude that any attention is good attention. Putting her on the floor resulted in a raccoon flying straight to me and clinging to my leg crying. It was at this point that the vet deemed her non releasable and officially signed over to our sanctuary. When asked what name should be on her certificate, the only thing that popped into my head was Storm, our little natural disaster!
Storm has since been eating like a big girl and started growing a little faster. She has grown all her fur back and looking a little more like a real raccoon. Some things haven’t change though with her constant need of attention. While we can’t always be at her beck and call, she now has two house cats and a monkey named Rosie to play and cuddle with! She is now the tiniest raccoon with the biggest heart!