My grandmother had a “pet” raccoon named Jerry. I don’t know where Jerry came from. I hope he was an orphan raccoon, the victim of some tragic raccoon and car accident that killed his mother and siblings. Or he could have been dragged to the farm by one of Grandma’s many Teddy dogs. However he got there, he was a fixture on the farm.
I remember Jerry living at Grandma’s farm for at least three summers. One of the best things about visiting the farm was playing with or feeding Jerry. He lived in a small doghouse shaded by a stand of lilac bushes. He wore a collar and was chained to the dog house. He ate dry cat food and table scraps. Jerry loved strawberries and pancakes. He would tolerate being petted but didn’t like to be held. He made strange chattering sounds and hissed when angry or when the dogs came too close.
When Grandma went up to the lake cabin Jerry went along. He had another dog house and chain beneath the spruce trees at the back of the cabin. He got to eat the smallest fish we caught in the lake. He didn’t like them cleaned or cooked.
Sometimes Grandma would take Jerry with her when she went visiting. He would sit in the car while she chatted with people. Jerry had a leash for those times he was allowed out of the car. I don’t think he ever got to go inside any house. I remember several times taking Jerry for a walk around the neighborhood while Grandma visited with my mother. He attracted a crowd where ever he went.
I guess Jerry go fed up being on a chain in the back yard of a farm with slobbering dogs all around. One morning his house was empty and all that was left of Jerry was his broken collar attached to the chain. Grandma figured a fox or one of the dogs got him. I want to believe he escaped back into the woods.