When one family found a sick baby raccoon, they refused to let him die. Instead, they dedicated themselves to his care in the hope of releasing the animal back into the wild. But one year after his rescue, they had a huge shock in store.
Kat Wagg is an animal lover. In fact, she believes that she has a special bond with wild creatures and can instinctively understand their needs. So, when she and her family encountered an ailing raccoon one day in 2010, she knew that it needed their help.
The animal in question was in a bad state, as the Wagg family discovered him infested with parasites. And among the parasites were two big botfly larvae that had taken up residence in his ear. That wasn’t the raccoon’s only problem, however.
According to Wagg, the poor animal was suffering from abscesses and some injuries as well. He had also become severely dehydrated. They consequently went to local wildlife officials to see what could be done to help him.
The officials claimed, however, that there was nothing they could do for the little raccoon. So, if the Wagg family handed him over, they would put the animal down. Unwilling to let that happen, then, the kindly Waggs decided to take him in themselves.
The clan didn’t have the first idea about caring for a sickly raccoon, though. So they buried their heads in research and eventually hired a specialist animal rehabber to help their new friend – now named Loki – settle in.
But the Waggs didn’t just want to help heal Loki. They also wanted to give him all the skills that he’d need to return to the wild. So, once Loki was feeling better, the Waggs allowed the animal to come and go using a doggy door.
The family also remained respectful of Loki’s natural instincts. For example, during mating periods they knew to give him plenty of space. That’s because he could become extremely aggressive towards anyone who bothered him.
“I was the only one he would tolerate and even I had to be very careful,” Wagg subsequently revealed on her YouTube channel. “I let my guard down once and as a result received five stitches on my right hand.”
And that wasn’t the only problem Loki posed. Since the Waggs gave him free reign of their home, they had no way of controlling him. As a result, he soon gained a reputation for being rather destructive.
“I’ve had many valuables broken, fabrics ripped apart and even a hole in the wall,” Wagg revealed. “I don’t believe in caging animals except for transport to the vet or to sleep at night. Loki was never caged, he was always free to go as he pleased.”
Deep down, though, the family knew that everything would be worth it when they could re-release Loki back into the wild. It soon became clear, however, that the animal wasn’t going anywhere. So he continued to live with his adoptive family.
“Most animals naturally respond to the call of the wild and leave their parents to live on their own,” Wagg explained. “Loki was a rare exception and wouldn’t leave no matter how much we encouraged him.”
The Waggs thankfully had the patience to cope with living with a wild animal under their roof. And eventually, he did all the things normal pets do. For instance, footage from the house showed him curling up on the sofa and even enjoying a bath.
The happy times were not to last for long, however. In May 2011 – just one year after they’d taken him in – the Waggs took Loki for his parvo injection. Parvo is a highly contagious and deadly virus, common among dogs and other mammals. It was vital, then, to protect the raccoon.
However, the vaccination itself posed unforeseen risks. And in a tragic twist of fate, it was this controversial inoculation that claimed Loki’s life. Indeed, he passed away in the arms of his adoptive parents shortly after receiving the injection.
“For those of you who have asked how Loki died, he had a fatal reaction to the Distemper/Parvo Modified Live (MLV) Vaccine,” Wagg later revealed on YouTube. “Had I known the risks associated with the MLV vaccine, I would’ve insisted on a Recombinant vaccine, which is a much safer choice.”
“Thank you all for your kind comments,” she added, addressing Loki’s online fans. “I’m sorry I don’t have time to answer them all. I do read them all and am thankful that so many have experienced a little morsel of our most beloved friend Loki.”
All the family were left with were their memories of Loki. Yet despite their fond recollections of the raccoon, they still don’t believe that people should keep the species as pets. “Loki was not a pet,” Wagg insisted.
“It takes a special kind of person to be able to live with a raccoon. Too many people wouldn’t have the patience, love and understanding to give them the life they deserve and need,” she added. “So, I do not condone keeping wild animals as pets.”