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The Three-Legged Raccoon

Back in May 2008 I wrote about Jack, the raccoon who had begun visiting my yard. Many things happened after that blog. For one thing, Jack turned out to be Jackie! Shortly after I made that discovery Jackie showed up outside my door with her 4 babies.

I fell in love with this masked family, who had taken up residence under my deck. I was re-living the joy I had felt watching Grizzly Adams on TV!

The raccoon family quickly grew, as relatives and in-laws began visiting, too. One morning it was like a scene from “Raccoons Gone Wild” and I knew I was in trouble. The little critters took over my yard, cleaning their feet in my pond and tearing apart the pump and pond plants.

One day Mama showed up with her babies, and one of them was missing a back leg. I was heartbroken, because I thought the little one’s days were numbered.

Boy, was I wrong!

The raccoon visits slacked off a bit during the fall, but recently the little darlings began coming by on a regular basis. The other morning there were three in the yard, one of whom was eating the food I had put outside for a neighborhood kitty. Out of nowhere a creature came tearing down my hillside, pushed the feeding raccoon away and took over eating the cat food.

It was the three-legged baby!

This tenacious kid, who was now HUGE, had survived the terrible snow and ice storm we had here in Portland over the holidays. It had survived the predators in our woods. Heck, it hadn’t just survived – it had thrived!

Lately I have been struggling with knee problems. After limping around for over two months, I learned that my left leg is completely out of whack, and the left knee is turned inward toward the right. I am working with a physical therapist to change the structure of that leg.

It’s not easy. My funky knee has been perfectly happy all these years facing the wrong way. I’ve tried telling my knee it will be the laughingstock of knees everywhere if it doesn’t correct itself, but so far it seems immune to the threat of public humiliation.

Then I saw the three-legged raccoon, and I realized if that little one could survive in the wild with a missing leg surely I was capable of getting my knee back into shape.

Maybe that’s why the raccoons came to me – to teach me about perseverance.


posted on June 13, 2011 Reply

what state are you in? theres a 3 legged raccoon that shows up at my house in connecticut!

Chris Davis
posted on June 13, 2011 Reply

I’m in Oregon, although I haven’t seen the raccoons in awhile. They sure were cute!

posted on October 12, 2011 Reply

I live in CT and I too have a 3-legged raccoon that comes by with one of the parents (I think).
The leg is there however it looks to possibly be deformed or maybe an old injury. He cannot put weight on it and keeps it tucked underneath his abdomen. I feel so bad as he must hobble around but I make sure when I put a few cat crunchies outside that he or she gets their share.

Christine Davis
posted on October 12, 2011 Reply

Poor little raccoon. I’m sure her or she is very grateful for the crunchies you put out!

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