The 'unlikely family' involving a senior dog and a baby raccoon
Story about dog's maternal relationship with a raccoon caught Midday's attention in 1988
A baby raccoon being raised by a dog?
Yeah, it was the kind of story that interested the media, including the producers at CBC's Midday, who tended not to shy away from intriguing animal stories.
Back in 1988, reporter Brian Yasui brought viewers the story of a dog named Tootsie that was acting as a surrogate mother to an abandoned infant raccoon named Rachel.
"We thought it was pretty strange, too," Yasui told viewers, near the start of a report that aired on Midday on Aug. 11, 1988.
Abandoned after birth
Yasui explained that Rachel and a pair of siblings had been born and then abandoned by their natural mother a few months earlier.
Elaine Hildebrandt of Woodmore, Man., found the abandoned babies — one of which died.
Rachel the raccoon stayed at the Hildebrandt home, while its surviving sibling was adopted by someone else.
How long could this last?
Soon enough, Tootsie began taking to Rachel, meaning the raccoon had a substitute mother, access to shelter and also dog food.
By the time Midday visited, Rachel had grown to a size that her human family would soon have to make a decision about her future.
"In a few weeks, the Hildebrandts say they'll have to decide whether they should keep this unlikely family together or send Rachel to a game farm," Yasui told viewers.