My dear and talented friend Lisa over at Grandma's Briefs is sending her grandson a tortoise -- no not a real tortoise -- a very cute plastic tortoise. It's in honor of World Turtle Day and ... oh just go read her post (if you haven't already). Her post led her to ask: "Did you or anyone you know have a turtle when you were a kid?"
Which got me to thinking about the animals we did have as kids. Because with three boys in the house, it seemed someone was always bringing home some kind of orphaned animal (and by "someone" I mean "Joe.")
I have vague memories of baby rabbits and snapping turtles and squirrels, but the most memorable was JoJo the Raccoon. He was orphaned (don't ask me to tell you how he was "orphaned," please) at our friend's farm and came home with us. It was like something straight off Wild Kingdom. And he was the cutest damn thing. Look.
Yep. That's me -- cuddling a wild freaking animal. And before you think my parents were irresponsible, he was actually quite tame. We fed him grapes and scrambled eggs. And somewhere in my old photos, I have a picture of him inside my Barbie camper. (It was quite traumatic for Barbie and Ken. Ken lost an arm in the attack.)
Unfortunately, as raccoons reach sexual maturity, they become more and more aggressive. Knowing this, we took him to a local petting zoo well before that day came. Technically, it's a turn-of-the-century replica farm and it's still operating today. And technically, no one was actually allowed to pet JoJo or his buddy Ricky. But we were able to go and visit him a few more times before he was released into the wild.
Well, that's what I was told. And that's what I still choose to believe. If you have other theories about "released into the wild," I'd prefer you keep them to yourself.