HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A Conway woman taught her pet a trick so impressive the feat was featured on national television.
Oakley, a 21-month-old raccoon, is potty-trained. Owner Courtnie Small contacted America's Funniest Home Videos in Hollywood, California to brag on her big boy!
She said she sent the primetime television show the video of potty-trained Oakley.
About a month later, AFV contacted Small. In December, Oakley's video was spotlighted on the Christmas addition of the contest show.
Watch the video, here: http://youtu.be/JNZXPxOfZR8
Small adopted Oakley after he was rescued from an attic in 2013. He was the first of three raccoons she rescued.
"I rescued two more [raccoons] after [Oakley] but gave them to different homes," she said. "One was plenty for me," she laughed.
Small is on a rescue list for wildlife rehabilitators. She said she was notified by the Horry County Animal Care Center when Oakley was just days old.
"He was less than a week [old]," Small said. "His eyes nor ears were open yet."
Oakley's new mom had to feed him every two hours, she recalled.
"He was like a newborn," she said.
She said Oakley caught on really quick during potty-training sessions.
"I put [Oakley] on the toilet one day and he played in the water," she said. But, her persistence paid off. "I kept doing it and he figured it out," she boasted.
"Now, if only I could get him to flush," she laughed.
Thousands of raccoons are taken to rehabilitators every year in Horry County, said Rebecca Wilson, also known as "The Wild Rehabber". Wilson rehabs raccoons, and other wildlife animals, before weaning them and releasing them into the wild. She is named, by the SCDNR, as a volunteer to take in opossums, squirrels, eastern cotton tail, raccoons, deer and fawn.
She described having a raccoon for a pet as a "bad relationship you can't get out of."
"It's definitely a love/hate relationship," she laughed.
"Raccoons are probably the hardest of all mammals to have as pets," warned Wilson. "[Raccoons] require the most attention," she explained. "They're very messy," she said, describing the nocturnal mammals to a constant 2-year-old child.
Wilson recommends, "if you're going to get a raccoon as a pet, go through a registered breeder."
Wilson also suggested following proper animal care procedures:
- take the animal to a veterinarian for shots, vaccination
- educate yourself about the animal
- get a permit from SCDNR, if needed
Because of the risk of transmitting disease or parasites from wildlife to humans or pets, the SCDNR does not recommend or support the treatment or rehabilitation of wildlife carnivores such as raccoons, opossums, skunks, foxes, coyotes, mink, weasels, otters or bats.