Nikki Robinson found Little Hands alone on the street but wildlife rescues were full.Nikki took him home instead, and her mom Linda tended Little Hands.The two became close and even after three years, Little Hands never missed to visit his mom for some snuggles.It has been three years, but this raccoon is still remembering the woman who saved him.When he was only a few weeks old, Little Hands was found alone on the street.
Unfortunately, all the wildlife rescues and rehabilitators in the area were already at full capacity, and no one could take the tiny raccoon in.According to Nikki Robinson, who works in wildlife rehabilitation, “When you ask what you should do with [an orphaned raccoon], they say, ‘Leave it alone and let nature take its course,’ or ‘You can take it to a vet and they will have to euthanize it,” — which she couldn’t allow to happen.
Nikki was working full-time, so she thought of asking her mom Linda to look after the baby raccoon, telling her that grandchildren were not on the horizon. Linda was semi-retired, which means she had the time to tend Little Hands. She was reluctant at first, but eventually realized that Little Hands was what she needed all along.
“The first time she bottle-fed him and he looked up at her, she just kind of melted,” Nikki said of her mom. “She treated him very sweetly early on because they like to be touched a lot. So she created a bond with him, even knowing he’d go back to the wild at some point.”
By the end of summer, Little Hands was ready to go on his own.
“They get a soft release and go out on her property and live under the deck for a bit, and she’ll leave food out until they wander off and find their own way,” Nikki told The Dodo. “But Little Hands remained friendly with the whole family and he was very kind and sweet with us.”
Linda and Little Hands’ usual spot was Linda’s porch swing. Little Hands would come up and literally crawl onto the swing, sit beside her and wait for a butt or chin scratch. “He wanted his snuggles, then he’d have his food and wander off.”
Though Little Hands has learned to live in the wild freely, he still continues to visit to have some cuddles with his mom.
Linda began taking in numerous orphaned and abandoned raccoon babies. And just like her first racoon baby, all the raccoons she cared for and released into the wild never stopped dropping by for occasional visits.
“Every day, she sits outside and waits, and even when they’re grown up, they’ll visit her and she just lights up and she just loves it,” Nikki said. “They love her, too — she’s just Mom.”
No matter how far these raccoons have reached by their own, they’d always come home to mom for a snack and a hug. Just like the old days.