Raccoons might be fluffy and cute, but most people know not to go near them.
In the wild, it’s because they have a high instance of rabies. And even if they don’t have the dangerous disease, they’re known for being pretty feisty and can do some serious damage with their agile little hands.
That was the case when Maxine Baird, founder of A New Hope animal sanctuary in Georgia, was told about an unusual raccoon who needed a home.
According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the raccoon was being kept in “horrific conditions,” and was found covered in feces and urine after being locked in a tiny suspended cage and neglected.
A poor diet had also rendered her obese at 22 pounds instead of a more healthy 16.
The raccoon was also striking. She has albinism, which means she has ivory-white fur, a pink nose and ears, and blue eyes. No one is really sure what her circumstance was exactly, but Baird and the DNR think she might have been a potential taxidermy subject.
As creepy as that is, she’s luckily been rescued, and today, she’s rebuilding her life at the sanctuary.
But when Baird agreed to adopt her, the DNR issued a warning.
They described the raccoon as aggressive, and surmised that she would probably be unable to get along with the animals or the humans, unlike other rescue raccoons who take immediately to their new families. Baird agreed to put her up for a few days.
Even though she’d been warned about the raccoon’s behavior, she decided to see what would happen if she spent a little time with the poor creature.
After sitting near the raccoon’s enclosure, the raccoon came up to Baird and placed her tiny hands into Baird’s human ones. And the rest was history.
When this albino raccoon arrived at A New Hope animal sanctuary in Georgia, she was in bad shape.
She’d been kept in a tiny, hanging cage for a long time, causing her fur to be soaked with waste to the point where she’d suffered burns from her own urine. Her sensitive paws were also covered in sores from the wires of cage.
Rescued by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Maxine Baird at A New Hope was warned that the raccoon was aggressive, and shouldn’t be handled under any circumstances.
The raccoon was skittish and terrified, but Baird didn’t really see any signs of aggression in her. So she went to sit by the raccoon’s enclosure, just to see.
And then something incredible happened.
The raccoon approached her and took Baird’s hands in her little ones.
“We just had a really good connection,” Baird says. “I’d been going through some stuff in my personal life, and I was having kind of a sad day, so I went out there, and I sat by her and she came right up to me… She came up and sniffed me, and put her little hands in my hand. Ever since then, she’d been honestly the sweetest raccoon I’ve ever met in my life, and I’ve raised probably about 200 raccoons.”
Maybe this raccoon, who had been through so much, could sense Baird’s sadness somehow.
Ever since then, the raccoon has been getting better and better, adjusting to her new life at the sanctuary.
And “aggressive” is probably the last word you’d use to describe her.
Baird decided to name her after the Egyptian goddess known for her kindness and compassion: Isis.
“Since this little raccoon has been through so much and is still so sweet, we found it fitting,” Baird says.
A vet suggested keeping Isis inside until the sores on her paws healed and she took to home life immediately.
She spent all of her time with Baird, napping on her lap, being carried around and cuddled, and giving kisses.
She also likes to climb everything — something she never had a chance to do in her old life.
“I just saw a complete 180-degree flip in her personality the minute she was exposed to some kindness,” Baird says.
And Baird isn’t the only one Isis has been warming up to.
She recently had a play date with another rescued raccoon named Ghost. The two met under supervision (just in case), but they hit it off right away.
And while Baird is happy that Isis is getting used to other raccoons, she knows that Isis, sadly, will not be able to return to the wild.
She spent too much of her life trapped in her abusive situation and lacks the skills she’d need to survive in the wild. So she’ll stay at the sanctuary.
Baird also wants to point out that raccoons really should never be pets, and that many of the raccoons at the sanctuary are relinquished pets.
“Raccoons can be incredibly destructive, and they can get very aggressive, and they really, really don’t make good pets.”
Isis will stay at the sanctuary being sweet, along with all kinds of other animals, from foxes to deer. See them on A New Hope’s website, as well as on Facebook and Instagram. You can also make a donation to keep the animals healthy and happy.
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