It has taken me this long to get over the death of Purrl, re-named Rusty Purrl after we discovered that he was not a female, but a boy. In honor of my first raccoon, Rustle, I had re-christened him Rusty Purrl.
I was able to enjoy two weeks with Rusty Purrl, but all the while I detected that something just wasn't right about him. He walked goofy, knuckling over in the front and back feet. Then his symptoms progressed to the point that he lost his suck reflex. No matter how I tried to feed him, the KMR (milk replacer for kittens) came out his nose--the food was getting into his lungs. And while I was trying to feed him on June 3rd, his heart stopped.
I wish I had a good, happy, hearty story to tell you all about: how Rusty Purrl is climbing trees and trundling around the yard after me. I wish, more than anything, that I could have had that little raccoon to raise this summer and set free into the wild in September because raising a raccoon is nothing less than enthralling. I was given a very special opportunity, but things just didn't work out, despite our best efforts and best medicines.
Rusty Purrl died, probably from canine distemper transmitted in utero. But in the short time I had him, he made me realize how precious life is and how tenuous it is, too. In those two weeks, a tiny raccoon kit came to trust me enough to fall asleep in my arms. Though Rusty Purrl died, he gave me some very special moments, and I hope I was able to give him the same.