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Dog adopts baby raccoons

By Christopher Brooke Henry County Local

Around A-1 Service Center in New Castle, Zoey - a 4-year-old Pomeranian/golden retriever - is considered a savior after she recently adopted two scrawny baby raccoons.

"She's a hero," Jeanette Mertz said about the Morgan family's pet. "She takes care of them."

For the time being, the approximately five-week-old raccoons will live with Zoey until they get old enough to survive without the milk the dog gives them, said Eileen Morgan and son George, who own the garage.

The mother raccoon left the two cubs behind in a boat on another person's property. When approached by humans, the adult raccoon ran away.

The Morgans took in the cubs, and that's when Zoey adopted the two little animals herself.

"I showed them to her, and she immediately started taking care of them on her own with no hesitation," George said.

The dog will snuggle with the raccoons and groom them. At their young age, they haven't done too much walking yet.

Zoey lost a litter of puppies and still had milk, Eileen explained. Her motherly instinct must have taken over.

"I've raised one on a bottle before," Eileen said. "I've never raised one with a dog, but she's doing a great job. She's a good little momma."

Besides nursing the cubs, Zoey feels protective of them - shown by barking at people who come around.

The raccoons have put on weight, so they appear to be doing well, George said.

Eileen raised raccoons in the past, so she knows about their habits.

"Raccoons love grapes," she said. "They wash all their food. They like eggs ..."

"They crawl around and they like to get somewhere and hide when they sleep at night like under the couch," George said.

The Morgans also understand that they will eventually have to separate Zoey from the cubs, maternal bond or no.

"I know we'll have to let them go," Eileen said. "If we let them go into the wild right now, they're too young, they wouldn't make it."

In the past when Eileen released raccoons, she would start with taking them outside more and more, so their instincts return.

Meanwhile, Eileen expects the raccoons will continue to treat Zoey as their mother until they grow up and can make it on their own.

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