When Bethany Swindell came across a baby raccoon that had fell from a tree, she knew to leave the animal alone and let the mother take care of it. She spotted the mother staring at her from the tree, so she left and went about her day.
Hours later, Swindell noticed the baby raccoon was still trapped on the ground, unable to move. The mother was nowhere in sight. Knowing that the tiny animal was in danger and possibly injured, she knew she had to help.
Swindell scooped up the baby raccoon and brought it to her home. She called around to various animal rescue organizations to find a safe home for the animal, but no one was able to take it in. That’s when she realized that she was the baby’s only hope.
Fortunately, Swindell had experience in raising raccoons. So, she decided to care for the raccoon and named her June. With the help of her husband, taking care of the animal was rewarding, but very tough.
“She was helpless when we found her since her eyes were still closed,” Swindell tells The Dodo. “We had to do everything her real mom would do — feed her, stimulate her to go to the bathroom and keep her warm.”
Swindell even wore June in a baby carrier while she worked. The doting mother did everything to make sure June was well taken care of.
“I’m very fortunate to be the owner of a small business so June was able to have 24/7 care, and she still comes to work with me,” says Swindell. “Plus, my parents love having a baby raccoon as a grandchild and have babysat sometimes.”
As June continues to grow up, she has become more and more like a family pet. In fact, her best friend is Swindell’s mother’s dog, Reese.
“They run and romp through the house and yard, chasing each other and rolling around. All of our friends that come to our house also have dogs, and June interacts and plays with them as well, but it isn’t the same type of relationship as she has with Reese.”
After June has become so used to the domestic life, Swindell says she will not release her back to the wild. It seems that is exactly what June wants too.
“Since she is being raised alone and not with other raccoons, she doesn’t have all the skills needed to live in the wild,” Swindell explains. “June has a house in my backyard, but she prefers to use the dog door and stay inside. She just wants to be wherever her people are and cries if she’s left alone, even when she is in the house. She has separation anxiety, so being all alone outside in the wild isn’t what June wants. We take her to my grandparent’s farm and let her play in the creek and climb trees, which she loves to do as long as we are there with her!”