BeBe The Racoon

June 15, 2008
By Jennifer Loerke, Everett, WA

I remember since I was a little girl that I always had a infatuation for animals of all kinds.
Birds, Lions, Racoons, Bald Eagles, dogs, cats, it didn’t matter what kind. When we would
be playing in the yard or driving in the car if I saw a bird or any type of animal I would
get so excited that I would scream. It’s a excitement like no other. When our family would
sit to watch t.v. together we would almost always watch the animal planet. I would be
in awe that such beautiful creatures could live around the world. I never in my wildest
dreams thought that I would ever be able to see a wild animal up close. I always related
wild animals to the Animal Planet station. I never in my wildest dreams thought
I would have a experience in which a wild animal would come to love myself
and my family let alone live in our neighborhood and not on t.v. or in Africa.

It all started one hot summer day in August, 96 degrees in fact. I remember everyone
wishing for rain that day. The grass was dry and the flowers in the flower beds were
all droopy from the lack of water. My mom had let us and the neighborhood kids
play in our swimming pool. It was a typical summer day at our house
in Bellingham. The night was coming and the sun was setting in the west.
The sky was a beautiful red color. We lived on a green belt and I could hear
the crickets and frogs starting to sing their nightly songs. As it became dusk
my mom was collecting our toys on the deck. I went out to help her. A object
caught the corner of my eye. As I turned and looked I was shocked to see
this little masked bandit just sitting there watching us. As I realized it
was a racoon I screamed and yelled “Racoon”. I was so excited that my
mom had to calm me down as to not scare the racoon. Because my mom
didn’t know if it would bite she told me to stand behind her. As I looked
at the racoon I was so amazed. Here was this wild animal in my back yard.
This animal of black and white. I thought wild animals only existed on
Animal Planet. As I looked at this unique creature, I wondered where it
came from, if it had a mom or dad, what it ate. These questions quickly
went away, as the racoon went away as fast as it came. For the rest of
the evening I wondered if I would ever see it again.

The next day it was a hot day again. Because it was so hot out, my family
decided to go to Birch Bay and go crabbing. All I could do was think
about that racoon the night before. I wondered if I would see it again,
so I just followed my family around daydreaming of this racoon. I decided
that if it returned again I would name it BeBe. Once we returned home
we had the task of cleaning the crab’s. We would cook them outside
as they have a aroma like no other. Well this aroma must of went for
miles because about twenty minutes into boiling the crabs, the racoon
appeared again. I told my Dad look it’s BeBe. He advised me to not
move and to just watch the racoon. He gave this racoon a crab
and BeBe looked to him as to say “Thank You”. Wow I thought.
My Dad just feed this animal. How cool is this! I asked my Dad
if she returns can I feed her. My dad said no, because even thou
she looks innocent it could be dangerous to feed a wild animal.
I thought well that isn’t so, the animals on animal planet didn’t
appear to hurt anyone, (or at least the programs we were allowed to watch).
So I was determined to feed this beautiful animal.

As the summer progressed each day was a new and exciting adventure.
BeBe had come each and everyday to visit our family. She continued to
show up at the same time each and every night. I was determined to know
anything I could on racoons. I read that they love eggs. So with the permission
of my Mom I left a egg carton of eggs out for her. She came and ate each and everyone.
I was so excited to see that. As our relationship grew with BeBe so did the knowledge
that I gained from learning about her and observing her. She became like
my best friend even thou she was a racoon. A friend that always depended on me.
A friend that never spoke a harsh word and someone you could totally depend on.
It is hard to find such a relationship today. The bond we had was irreplaceable. The love
I had for this animal was beyond anything I had ever felt before, accept for the love
for my parents. Little did I know that all of this was about to change.

As fall approached and the leaves started changing so did the patterns of BeBe. She wouldn’t
come each and every night as she did before. I felt as thou my best friend had deserted me.
I became very upset and worried if something had happened to her. Then one
day as I was home from school sick, my mom was in the kitchen and she saw BeBe
at the slider. She was covered in blood and severely injured. My mom went to get a
blanket for her. When she returned BeBe was gone. My mom immediately got on the
phone and started called wildlife sanctuaries, no one could take her. My mom and
I went to look for her. We went thru the green belt at least 5 times over the next few
days. We never found her nor did we ever see her again. Part of me died that day.
I always wondered what happened to her, what attacked her, and did she suffer.

This experience changed my life. The relationship that I had with this racoon will
always forever be in my heart. As I continue today to see specials on Animal
Planet and the impact that humans have on animals lives I realized that what I
had with BeBe is a once in a lifetime experience. To have such a trusting relationship
with such a small animal, and a wild animal at that, is remarkable. I will be forever
proud of being part of this animals life, and I wish that circumstances could of
been different for this unique animal. As with every story there is a moral. I feel
the moral of this story is friendship. What a remarkable feeling “Friendship” can
bring. It’s a feeling of trust and love. That is what BeBe expected of me.
She trusted me and she loved me and knew she could depend on me. I just wished
I could of saved her. This unique animal will forever be in my heart and because of
her it taught me the value of having a friend and how to treat a friend.

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