A frightened baby raccoon didn’t just steal a ride into London over the long weekend. He also stole the hearts of Mr. Lube technicians who rescued him.
Sally Hartung was driving from St. Marys along Highway 7 early Sundy afternoon, when she noticed that several other vehicles were stopping along the side of the rural road.
“Someone had hit a baby raccoon, and there was a whole family of baby raccoons that were kind of unsure of where to go, running all across the road,” she explained.
Both lanes of traffic were stopped, and Hartung said people were trying to guide the babies off the road.
“They all went together, except for this one little fellow. He looked like he had a sore foot, so he wasn’t sure where to go. And he ended up jumping up on my wheel of my vehicle, and was up in there hugging the tire.”
“We were trying to coax him out, and explain to him that he had to go with his family. But he was not interested.”
Hartung said the creature eventually crawled inside the vehicle’s wheel well, and they had no choice but to keep driving.
“We drove a little bit, stopped and checked on him, drove a little bit, stopped and checked on him. So we said, ‘Okay, you’re going to have to ride with us to London.'”
Hartung said she continued in this fashion all the way to Mr. Lube at the intersection of Oxford and Wonderland, where technicians were delighted to help in the rescue.
Cody Loffhagen, a Mr. Lube employee, said it didn’t take long to raise the vehicle, take the tire off, and pull the wheel fender down to access the raccoon’s hiding place.
“Sure as luck, he was alive! Perfectly fine and kicking,” he said.
Loffhagen, who had a glove on to make sure he didn’t get bitten, grabbed the raccoon and placed it inside a cardboard box. He ended up taking the critter home after the day’s work, and made several calls to different wildlife rehabilitation centres.
Heaven’s Wildlife Rescue agreed to pick the raccoon up Tuesday afternoon. Loffhagen said that animal has been hanging out in his garage since Sunday.
“He’s got a ton of food and a ton of water,” Loffhagen said.
“He doesn’t want anything to do with me, so I’m trying to not really be around him too much. But he’s doing just fine. He’s just hanging out.”
“He’s really so cute,” said Hartung, noting the enthusiasm of the Mr. Lube employees.
“They were just like, ‘This was the best thing to happen to us. … This was new and exciting and heartwarming.’ So, they were really happy to have the opportunity to help us out with it.”
WATCH: A daredevil raccoon captures the world’s attention.