Raccoon With One Eye LOVES His New Rescue Dog
A lot of people who meet Ghost don't realize he has only one eye.
They think he's just winking at them.
That may have something to do with this raccoon's roguish charm.
"It took a while for him to come around with people," Maxine Baird, director of A New Hope Sanctuary & Education Center, tells The Dodo. "Now, he greets every stranger by shaking their hand."
And shaking them down.
"He goes through their pockets and tries to steal their valuables," she adds.
But that missing eye has also kept Ghost from returning to his true home in the wild.
He was found about a year ago, under circumstances that remain unclear, and brought to the sanctuary in Georgia. Staffers there think he was attacked by a bigger animal and lost his eye.
A one-eyed raccoon, it turned out, wouldn't fare well back in the wild.
"Animals need both eyes for depth perception," Baird explains. "Ghost will get himself stuck all the time. He climbs on top of furniture and then he can't figure out how high up he is. He just sits there and we have to come rescue him."
Instead, Ghost remained at the sanctuary as an educational ambassador - and resident hell-raiser.
In that sense, the sanctuary underestimated Ghost. They figured since he was already 8 months old when he arrived, he wouldn't be especially friendly toward humans.
But this is Ghost we're talking about.
"We figured he wasn't going to be very tame," Baird says.
The idea was for Ghost to live outside, where visitors could observe him while learning about raccoon behavior.
"[But] when we get new animals, we like to keep them in our bedroom for a couple of weeks for bonding purposes," Baird explains.
Ghost decided he liked it inside.
"He lives in the house now full-time," she says.
But everyone, including the dogs and cats at the rescue, have no problem with that.
"He's so full of love and so happy," Baird says. "He's so good with everyone else at the sanctuary. He loves our dogs. He loves our cats."
And butt scratches.
But, despite Ghost's undeniable charm, Baird takes up the same refrain as other wildlife professionals: "They don't make good pets."
A raccoon's place is in the wild. And, on occasion, even Ghost makes that abundantly clear:
"He digs holes in our drywall. And pulled out all the stuffing from our couch."
Still, it's hard to blame this winking raccoon for even the most calamitous antics.
He is, after all, a raccoon in a human's world. He's just living in it.
"Ghost is going to spend the rest of his days with us," Baird says.
But Ghost's life isn't cheap. In fact, his monthly needs, including vegan dog food, fruit, vegetables and all the accessories he needs to keep his brilliant raccoon brain well-stimulated, add up to around $125.
It's no meager expense for a sanctuary that relies on donations.
You can help A New Hope meet those needs by sponsoring Ghost here.