When I was young we lived in a small house in the woods. My brother and I had few friends, no videos games and the only phone was rotary and connected to the wall. We sometimes had to make do with critters for companions. It was all very “Little House on the Prairie”.
Every spring, raccoons would nest high in an old tree close to our front door. Occasionally a newborn would take a tumble. If it survived, my mom would nurse it back to health, keeping it safely caged on our front porch.
Without fail, on a night when she knew her little one had recovered, the mama raccoon would open the locked cage and whisk her baby back up the tree.
Of course I would cry upon learning my new little friend had vanished, but my mom just smiled, as if she’d planned it all along. Turns out, she had.