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vBy Aimee Huntley Jet Yaggie and Claudio A Raccoon In the Family When cruising down the residential streets of Yankton, it’s common to see lots of walkers with their family, friends, and furry canines enjoying nice weather. But it’s not often that the one in the lead, at the end of a leash, is a raccoon. Imagine my surprise when what I thought at first was a small cat, was actually a baby raccoon, walking happily along with Jet Yaggie on all fours! I stopped my van, rolled down the window, and yelled out, “Hey girl, can I meet your raccoon?!” This was an experience that made my morning. Jet was very patient, and helpful. She waited while I parked my vehicle and walked over to join them on the sidewalk. Claudio, the raccoon, was only a few weeks old at the time. He’d been born in a grain combine at the John Deere dealership lot on Hwy 50 and abandoned with some littermates. The typical spring litter can be anywhere from two to five kits, but Claudio wound up being the only one left to be taken in by the Yaggies. Jet revealed that Claudio wasn’t the first raccoon that the family had taken in. They’d had previous foster attempts with three others before, but unfortunately they didn’t live very long. The Yaggie family has always been very pro-animal. Besides Claudio, they currently have Carmel; the cat, three geckos, a box turtle, and Jet’s chicken named Eminem, after the rapper. Jet’s dad, Jason Yaggie, has also prior experience with having a pet raccoon from growing up on a farm just outside Mission Hill, SD. That raccoon lived outside on the property though, while Claudio prefers to stay mainly inside the house. Jason said that by the time that raccoon was a year old it had gradually stayed away for longer and longer periods of time, with less frequent visits back at the property, until it stayed in the woods for good. When Claudio arrived, the Yaggies raced to get kitten replacement milk to bottle feed him. They didn’t have a regular feeding schedule, but instead paid attention to the tiny raccoon’s hunger. They did a good job and he soon gained weight, grew, and was eating dry cat food in no time. Like many raccoons in proximity to humans, Claudio likes to supplement his diet with people food whenever he can. He loves marshmallows, Twinkies, strawberries and watermelon. Jason says he seems to prefer pork over any other meat, and will devour pork chops and ham. Jet recently discovered that Claudio enjoys her gecko’s snack too, which is a basically bugbased treat. Both Claudio and the cat compete for ice cubes and Proudly Serving You Since 1948! “Your Single Source” •HVAC • Plumbing • Electrical 808 W. 23rd, Yankton, SD | 10vHERVOICEvSEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019 605.665.2895

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