Written by, Jennifer A. Wolff

(This is a true story and really happened. I was reminded of it when I ran across some web-sites. I immediately called my Mom, Dad, and Grandmother to make sure I didn’t leave anything out. I hope you enjoy it. This story is dedicated to my Mom, Grandpa, & Grandma Ramsey.)

I was 4 when they brought her home. She was a tiny bundle of cute fuzz, with a mask. She was bought from a local pet shop. When my Mom picked her out she was the smallest of the litter. The other raccoons were using her for a chew toy. They felt bad for her and bought her. In return for helping my Mom spay her and get her shots my Grandfather got to name her. He named her Strawberry. (I think she should have been named Rascal.) My mom would haul her around in a stocking cap. Whenever Mom would set her down the stocking cap moved and that would startle anyone who saw it.

Strawberry used to get into so much trouble. Whenever my parents had to leave they would lock her up in one of the bedrooms, along with food, water, and a place to relieve herself. She used to tear up her room when she got left at home; she hated being left behind. I remember hearing my mother tell her to get out of the cupboards, and she also used to raid the refrigerator. She loved it when Mom would make cookies. Peanut butter cookies were her favorite treat.

During the first spring we had her, my Aunt Susan, My Mother and I all went to the zoo. We took her along, but had to leave her in the car, in her pet carrier. When we came back from out trip through the zoo, she had gotten out of her carrier and we found the car all torn up. What a mess! She was one unhappy critter. One fall we brought her to my Grandparent’s house, in Cloudcroft, New Mexico. We had gone up to visit. It was shortly before my little sister Tiffany was born. My parents took Strawberry to Water Canyon in the Sacramento Mountains, to go camping with them. When Strawberry heard the water she got away from them and she still had her collar and leash on. They prayed that she’d come back, she did, so they took off her collar and unleashed her. They set her free. My mom missed her a lot and used to take cookies out to where she got away when she’d go to visit in the summer. The cookies were Strawberry’s favorite, of course, peanut butter.

Years later, my Grandmother was in a writer’s group. A couple that lived in Timburon, also in the Sacramento Mountains (They were also part of her writer’s group.) were there. They had a strange story to tell.

One day they were out by a waterfall. They spent the day out there with their Labs. All of a sudden during the daytime the raccoon showed up. Her husband had to tie up the dogs to keep them safe, but also so they wouldn’t harm the raccoon. (Raccoons don’t come out during the day, unless they are sick or have contracted rabies. They are normally nocturnal.) This raccoon was begging for cookies, and rubbing itself against her leg wanting to be petted. It was very puzzling behavior but the lady petted her any way. She figured out that the raccoon used to be someone’s pet. They left the raccoon there all alone. My family believes that this raccoon was Strawberry, at that point she was 10-11 years old. She had lived a good long life. It is sad when people get raccoons, because they cannot be tamed, some of the wild will always be there. My Aunt Susan bears a scar from Strawberry’s bite mark. They can never be permanent pets. Please do not keep them as pets. Please find a wildlife center that can take them and raise them right. Then they can be released back into the wild where they belong.

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