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"Mark here - Thought I would share my loss with everyone as I am still devastated over it. Destiny would have been a year old today. She was an orphan at around three or four days I guess. She still had a dried umbilical cord. The mom died trying to get back to her den under the house of apparent animal wounds. She was the only one I was able to save, hence her name, Destiny. Her first month on earth was touch and go as she soon developed a urinary tract infection. She responded almost miraculously to the series of three penicylin shots a day apart and grew like a weed after that. I've never been loved as much as she loved me. I remember a feeding just after her eyes had opened. Following a warm bath and a dryer, I placed her back in her warmed little box, where I had given her a wind up tick tock clock and a little red and white snoopy dog. As I placed her in her box, she immediately went over to her clock and gave it a touching hug, and then to her snoopy doll for a lot more of the same, and then off to bed and just as quickly to sleep. It was almost eerie it was so touching. I was mommy ok in every sense, complete with that extra sense of concern and alarm that only a mother can share when her baby is in danger. Like the time she followed my unaware son into the tool shed. I was in the kitchen when I sensed something was wrong. When I found her she had crawled up a bench to a window with a broken pane and was stranded straddled between two jagged pieces. Had she moved another inch she would have cut herself to ribbons. She had made NO noise of any kind but was definitely afraid and waited patiently until I found her and extricated her. And she would often know just what I was thinking as well. She learned everything I taught her and excelled in social skills ........ and then learned on her own .......... how to defeat the child proof mechanism on a bic lighter ....... and then light it. She woke me every morning with a kiss. Came to give me a hug and a kiss every night before bedtime. And was apt to attack at any other time for a little - "just thought I'd tell you how much I really love you sugars". She was playful and loving to the nth degree but never destructive in the least. To this day we can't remember her ever destroying a thing. She had her toys and most were not bought. She watched cartoons with me every night as we shared a mutually favorite snack cashews. We showered together, cooked (taste tested) and cleaned (pun) house together (not the vacuum!!). She was very concerned about my back pain and would fret, and often bring me one or two of her favorite bright red soda bottle caps. Of course who wouldn't feel better after such touching concern. When she came in season she was no trouble for me in the least. The same was not true , however, for my roommate ....... her betrothed. When he wouldn't cooperate with "mother nature" she became upset and moved back in with "her mother", me. She was so upset with him she would not allow him to so much as raise his voice in anger or dis-pleasure at me, and would stand between us to make sure!! Of course she loved us both ....... but you "do NOT mess with my mamma" specially when I'm on the rag!! When either one of us would leave for work she worried the whole time. Upon returning, it was time for celebration !! The biggest celebration was the trip home from the grocery store "with ALL those goodies and presents ALL just for her !! And she got to go thru the sacks to find the best goodies. (usually bought just for her to find) In Texas it is against the law to posess a raccoon. And against the law for a vet to treat them. They have to report you to the authorities or it's their license. Of course the State of Texas will assist you in killing as many as you like. Destiny died recently from a very bad flu she caught from me. I couldn't get her to a vet, and my skills were inadeguate to save her. Something is dreadfully wrong with this picture. I lost a son to a drunk driver 21 years ago and this loss is just about as emotional. These animals are among the top 5 intelligent animals on earth, in which humans are at the top of the group. Losing her was much more like losing a daughter than some pet. I've had every kind of animal there is. I was raised on a farm. But nothing prepared me for this. And to think, I was a criminal for saving her life to begin with. Destiny had one brief year on this planet. It was, however, a year full of love and happiness, security and comfort. I can only hope I see her again, as I believe I will if I'm lucky enough to make it to the same gate. "
"Steven Coble"

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