Yes, I was one of those crazy ladies who fed the 'coons. It began when they found the food I put out for the stray cats. It continued after they charmed me by bringing up the babies and using our flat bedroom addition as a sort of 'day care' when the mama 'coons wanted to eat and relax while keeping an eye on their broods and know they were safe. I enjoyed feeding a few of the brave ones pecans and vanilla wafers from my fingers as they gingerly took the treats from my hand with their soft dexterous paws. It ended a few years later when suddenly it seemed every 'coon on Wye Mt., began showing up nightly at 'Amy's cafe' and digging in my planters.
Throughout I befriended in particular one old 'coon I named 'Nubbins' due to his stubby ears -- which looked more like ears a bear would have. I felt sorry for him at first. The others seemed to ignore or bully him -- maybe because of his appearance -- but he was always hanging around the fringes trying to dart in and grab a bite or two before being run off. He was so timid but always sweet. I started going out of my way to make sure 'Nubbins' got some of the goodies. Eventually when I started tapering off the food supply, the others noticed my fondness for Nubs, and began pushing him forward towards the sliding glass door, to get their food. Nubs seemed almost apologetic about it. Every time he saw me, he rushed the door and put his paws up in greeting, seemingly as happy to see me as I was him.
Nine months ago I gasped when I saw him on the terrace with a huge gaping gash from his shoulder down his haunch. I don't know what happened to him but he looked awful. The blood wasn't gushing out but I could see bone, and he was moving in obvious pain. Still, he was there, and a friend who fed 'coons had told me they had an amazing ability to heal and as long as he was eating he should be alright. Unfortunately, after that one night, he disappeared.
After a few weeks passed I resigned myself to the fact he probably didn't make it. It's a hard life for the wild ones, and Nubbins lived a long time in 'coon world. Still, I missed him. I even found a small plastic 'coon toy and nipped his ears so he'd resemble Nubs and put it on our kitchen counter to remind us of the remarkable friendship we developed with the guy.
Three nights ago I looked out on the terrace and gasped. There he was! He came rushing up to the door as soon as he saw me peering from the glass, acting like he'd never been away. His fur is thick and full and he moved easily. He had two friends with him. We were so excited to see him, he got a treat of pecans and vanilla wafers; all he could eat. Later I sent out a chicken carcass rather than using it for soup. It is still incredible Nubs has been 'raised from the dead.'
Now if only Francis the fox would reappear again...