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Teddy's burial and resurrection: The life of a Tennessee raccoon

This is a true account of an incident that is both happy and sad. In the "Misadventures of Catfish and Cutbait," that this writer loves to share with the readers, there is another character that has befriended the 'dagnamic duo," and his name is "Spiderbite." Spiderbite is also known as the penman of these articles. The incident, in question, happened several years ago.

It was an early spring day, and Spiderbite was sitting on the back deck at his home, watching the swirling waters of the swimming pool below, which had only been open for a short time. The water was still extremely cold, but the therapeutic value was present in the fact that the swirling clear water was the best medicine for the eyes of a man who had been trapped inside by the Winter's chill.

As Spiderbite sat there, drinking in the rippling sound of the water and the humming of the pool's motor, a niece, named Vickie, who worked at a veterinarian's office, appeared on the deck with a small cage. Inside of the cage was a very nervous baby raccoon. Vickie said affectionately, "Hey old man, do you want a baby raccoon?" This was a trap and Spiderbite knew it, but his affection for animals was ravenous, so he said, "Where's its mother?" She was accidentally killed, and the baby needs a home!" Spiderbite's wife sat beside him, shaking her head, knowing that they would be taking care of a stinky baby raccoon, and of course, Spiderbite said, "Yes."

It was a tough beginning, as Spiderbite opened the cage, reached in and was immediately attacked by teeth and sharp nails. As everyone cringed and said, "Get your hand out of there," it had already progressed beyond that point, for Spiderbite had to let this miniature tornado know who was boss and who would love the baby, no matter what it did to him. It also helped because Spiderbite was old, and his hands were hard and calloused. When he removed his hand, there was no letting go of the baby raccoon, since he did not have the raccoon, but the raccoon had him. The little creature held on like a small vise with sharp teeth, but after a little rubbing and a bottle of formula, there was only an occasional return to the sharp teeth and claws.

Spiderbite was determined not to make "Teddy," (whom he later learned was actually a female) be a prisoner confined in a cage, so she was placed in his wood working shop with a soft bed, water and food. Spiderbite would venture out to the shop and let Teddy come to him. Teddy became at home there and started stealing small tools, screws, washers and anything she could pick up. She refused to bed down in the soft bed, but climbed into the attic area, along with all her stolen stash. When Spiderbite thought, Teddy was ready, he released her into the wooded area behind his house, but she didn't leave. She lived in the woods, but visited Spiderbite on the back deck every night.

One morning, Spiderbite's youngest daughter, ran into the house yelling, "Teddy's dead!" When Spiderbite went out to see for himself, he saw a raccoon on the roadway, deceased. In an emotional state, Spiderbite retrieved the dead animal from the road, rubbed its fur and wept there by the roadway. Many cars slowed down to watch this strange phenomenon, but Spiterbite didn't care and continued crying over the dead raccoon. Shortly thereafter, he buried the animal and put up a little marker for it.

Still grieving that night, Spiderbite went out on the deck and sat under the stars, wondering if raccoons go to heaven. After a short time, Spiderbite was jolted by sharp claws on his leg. As he looked down in fear, there stood Teddy, as alive as could be! It seems Spiderbite cried and grieved over a stranger, but at least the other raccoon got a decent burial.

"Fred, the Friendly Raccoon" in the video, looks a lot like Teddy did.