Raccoon escorted from major hospital in downtown Toronto for being a raccoon
With the weather outside getting colder and a canine distemper outbreak now formally declared, the raccoons of Toronto are starting to visit human-run places outside of their usual wooded and dumpster-filled back alley ranges.
One such masked critter recently strolled into the busy Toronto General Hospital, presumably enticed by the smells of cafeteria scraps and discarded unsweetened applesauce.
Some who are aware of the incident theorize (with humour) that the raccoon may have been seeking treatment for distemper — a viral disease that has recently been tearing through Toronto's procyon community.
Toronto General is not only the birthplace of insulin, after all, but the site of many famous surgical achievements, including the world's first successful double-lung transplant, Canada's first hand transplant and the world's first successful triple organ transplant.
Those who were present for the raccoon's visit suspect, based on its friendly temperament, that a case of distemper or low body temperature prompted the little one to waltz in.
Hospital staff confirmed to blogTO that the encounter took place last Monday when the forest creature entered the facility.
A security guard who works at the hospital said on Reddit that "the lil guy was super friendly."
Apparently, the raccoon came back in twice the same day before he parted for good, each time sniffing the security guard's boot and nibbling on it "sort of like a puppy would, then keep walking."
"I'd keep him if they were all like this, but sadly he probably has distemper, said the guard. "Eventful day to say the least."
"Buddy came in to get treatment for distemper and the hospital turned him away? What is our society coming to???" joked one Reddit user in the comments thread. Said another: "He definitely did not self-screen upon entry. Code chartreuse."
It's not clear what happened to the little guy after leaving the hospital, but his mulitple forays into Toronto General have sparked a conversation with more than 3,400 upvotes on Reddit.
Others pointed out that the animal's behaviour, cute as it may seem to observers, could be indicative of something that isn't jokeworthy.
"Memes aside, it's honestly concern how many raccoons are displaying signs of distemper. Remember they look cute but keep your distance and call 311 if you notice any of them having erratic behaviour," wrote one.
"Small mammals like that are typically nocturnal and avoid humans. They also try to travel in hidden and along fences/walls," said another.
"If you notice a raccoon or skunk out in the middle of the day, walking kind sluggishly and not afraid of people there is a good chance it is distemper."
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