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Is the suspense killing you yet? The short story is, the raccoon has been released and should be happily living in the wooded area behind our house.
And here is the long story.
Unfortunately for the raccoon, it was also getting very hot outside and in the garage. And since we are not investing in proper raccoon housing, it was time to let it go. Matt's goal was to get it big enough to survive on its own and he accomplished that goal.
So one night after a baseball game, Matt loaded the raccoon into a small box and we walked back into the wooded area behind our house. Matt and Daulton walked into the woods while I stayed safely in the yard.
Matt sat the box down and the raccoon made no attempt to leave the box. So, Matt carefully removed it from the box and the raccoon looked back at Matt, not quite sure what to do. I believe the raccoon thinks that Matt is its mother, so I imagine the raccoon is going to have some abandonment issues. Matt walked away from it and that was it. No more baby raccoon.
We haven't seen it since, but I was back there the other day and something was rustling around back there. Needless to say, I didn't stick around to see what it was but I like to think it was the raccoon.
This was definitely a learning experience for everyone. I learned that Matt is a country boy at heart and I can move him to the suburbs, but I can never truly move the country out of him. Matt learned that I don't deal well with wild, potentially rabies infested animals. We learned that Dixie is an excellent tracker but cannot handle the stress of having a small animal so close for that long.
The ending of this story is significantly less dramatic than everything it took to keep it and feed it. But I think this story has a happy ending.