While most people would probably never willingly own a raccoon, one family took in a stray as their own. Bethany and her husband Russ noticed a raccoon had fallen about 25 feet from a tree. It stood at the bottom screaming for its mom, who just stared back down from the branches above. They figured they would just leave the raccoon there and the mom would come to get her eventually.

“Well a couple hours went by, and now it’s late at night and June is covered in ants, leaves and mulch,” Bethany said. “And, she’s still screaming, and her mom’s not in the tree anymore.” So, they did what anyone in their position would do.

They took the helpless raccoon inside to warm her up, give her some fluids, and get her nice and clean. They made sure to get all the ants off her so she wouldn’t get bitten.

“The next day, we put her back outside, but her mom was never seen again. And that’s how we got June!”


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A rescue mission becomes more permanent.

They named her after the month she was found at the bottom of the tree. Not knowing what to do with her, they decided to just adopt her into the family. They couldn’t release her into the wild without her mom since June was so young. If they left her alone outside, she could have gotten attacked by another wild animal.

They decided that leaving her with them was the best option. Apparently, this had not been their first encounter with wild raccoons, either. They both have experience as wildlife rehabilitators, so they knew how to handle June properly.

“We raised June just like any of the other raccoons that we had raised before to encourage her to be wild, be free, and to release her,” Bethany said. “The raise and the rehab went really well, but the release part did not go well.”

June seemed to enjoy the comforts of human life far too much to go back to the harsh wilderness. They thought that after a while, she’d want to go back outside again and live like a normal raccoon. After four years, however, they still had the orphaned raccoon living in their house. At this point, they accepted her as a permanent member of the family.


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Then, they decided to add another furry friend to the family.

“We had June a little over a year and then we decided we wanted to get a dog for our family,” Bethany said. “We introduced Waffles, which is a Vizsla, to June.”

They seem to get along really well and even cuddle together for naps on the couch. They hardly even seem to notice their differences, and just act like best animal friends.


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“June and Waffles like to wrestle and play together – they’re always getting into mischief, and it’s really funny. They work together, and they tag team so they’re double trouble. I really think that June thinks she’s a person, and Waffles thinks she’s a raccoon,” Bethany says.

No matter how they see themselves, they love each other unconditionally and make a perfect team. They hang out all the time and never seem to want to leave one another’s side.

Of course, Bethany says that they would have preferred to release June into the wild if possible. They know that raccoons need a life in the wild to thrive, but in this case, they saw no other option.

“If she had been able to be raised with other raccoons, June would not be here now. She would be out in the wild, but that didn’t work out that way.”


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Raising a raccoon is not for everyone!

Bethany loves having June as a pet, but she cautions others who may want to adopt a raccoon. She says that raising a raccoon comes with a lot of challenges, and doesn’t recommend people raise them.

“I do not advocate that people have raccoons as pets unless you know what you’re doing and you have time to devote,” she says. “So just make sure you know what you’re getting into. The best option is to give it to a certified wildlife rehabilitator.”

After a few years of spreading the story about June & Waffles, Bethany and Russ wanted to make more of a difference somehow. They decided to partner with animal rescue organizations to spread the word about animal rescue. They now have a shop with mugs, shirts, and other items decorated with pictures of Waffles and June. Visit the Shop for a Cause page if you want to check out their shop and how they give back.

If you know of a shelter or organization in need, you can send them an email to nominate them for donations. Remember, every little bit counts!

Do you or someone you know have a pet raccoon? If so, we’d love to see pictures or hear more about it in the comments!