The first sighting came from downtown Ocean Springs, Mississippi. In January, a mysterious little animal was roaming around behind a pet store, nearly naked — what little fur he had matted beyond recognition.
Robin Seals and Judy Roe from Wild At Heart Rescue knew he needed help, but every time they searched an area where he’d been spotted, the animal was gone, writes thedodo.
After a month and a half of chasing the mysterious animal around the neighborhood, they knew time was running out. Traps hadn’t worked, so instead, they set up a feeding station and a camera.
They watched the trail camera for hours, learning the animal’s habits until finally, they were able to get close to him.
“When I threw the net over him, it was the biggest adrenaline rush I think I’d ever had from relief,” Roe told The Dodo. “We were getting desperate because by the time I finally put the net on him, we realized a couple more days and he wouldn’t be here anymore — he was that bad.”
Once they brought the animal home, they realized he was suffering from one of the worst cases of sarcoptic mange they’d ever treated.
“He was living inside a shell of his own skin,” Roe said. “It was probably 2 inches thick across his entire body and hands and feet.”
“The will for this animal to live was incredible because I can guarantee 99 percent of people would give up,” Roe added. “He definitely has taught us a lesson in perseverance.”
The animal was in pain and terribly itchy, but with help from Roe and Seals, he began to feel better.
“We did the protocol of putting him in warm, soapy water, and just brushed him and tried to get the scales off him,” Roe said. “And we realized there was a beautiful little raccoon under there.”
They named the senior raccoon Hobo, and after weeks of treatment, he started coming back to life.
Hobo now lives in an outside enclosure with a slide, a den, two swimming pools and trees to climb. He lets his caretakers feed and clean up after him, and loves napping on top of his slide and swimming in his pools at night.
“He’s climbing again, he’s running, he’s playing,” Roe said. “He has a little routine, and I think he’s very content right now.”
Hobo’s hair is starting to grow back, and with each passing day, he’s getting stronger. Thanks to his rescuers, the senior raccoon is on track to make a full recovery and working towards being released back into his territory. But until then, he’s enjoying being spoiled.
“He’s lived a very long life, but the last year of it has been miserable,” Seals told The Dodo. “Now, everything has changed — he’s a happy boy. He’s content and laid back. He’s amazing, he really is.”