Adorable internet celebrity, Cody the Rocket Raccoon turns one year old on September 16 and he's celebrating with style! The first annual CODYFEST is a charity music festival to raise funds for Little Mischief's Raccoon Rescue in Leicester, UK.
The party starts at 7:00 p.m. and fans can meet Cody between 7:00 and 7:45 p.m. Local musicians will turn up the noise at 8:00 p.m. and a raffle for some excellent prizes, including a £100 tattoo voucher, will be announced later in the evening. Tickets are available online for £6.05 at WeGotTickets.com.
If you're out of town, but want to donate to this great cause, check out Cody's JustGiving page. Cody hopes to raise at least £500 to start for food, vaccines, and to pay for vet fees. All of the funds raised by ticket sales will go directly to Little Mischief's Raccoon Rescue, while profits from Cody merchandise sales will go towards care for Cody.
But, that's just the beginning. When we spoke with Cody's Mummy, Kasey Valentine, she told us about how important it was for raccoons like Cody to have a safe and stimulating enclosure. Since hearing about the influx of rescues coming into Little Mischief's, Kasey knows that there is a real need for space. So she and Cody are dreaming big, with high hopes that his birthday wish will come true! With even more funds, they could pay for new enclosures. "There are so many rescue animals that need help, it would be wonderful if we could do this for them," she said.
Cherilyn Huff of Little Mischief's tells us that there are 14 raccoons living within 7 enclosures. Each raccoon has specific needs, which are monitored carefully. Because recent legislation has made it illegal to buy raccoons and other exotic animals, the raccoons that come to Little Mischief's will remain at the sanctuary for the rest of their natural lives. There has been an increase in raccoons coming to the center, but Cherilyn has linked up with other sanctuaries. Within the last year, they have relocated about 25 pet raccoons and other exotic species to specialist locations.
Little Mischief's has been a valuable resource and support to Kasey and Cody, so they want to give back however they can. Just after Kasey adopted Cody, she contacted Cherilyn Huff from Little Mischief's Raccoon Rescue."She's been so helpful," said Kasey, "she sent me so much information about raising raccoons, fact sheets and advice. She hasn't left me since I've had him."
There is some real need here for Cherilyn and her team. They have been rescuing exotic animals for the past 6 years and Little Mischief's is the only specialist center in the UK for raccoons. "The money we receive from this lovely gesture will help us increase our enclosures and also possibly be put in the pot for Vet Care," writes Cherilyn.
Cody has inspired many, but the one life he has transformed the most is his Mummy's. Since taking little Cody home one year ago, Kasey's world has opened up completely. Before Cody, Kasey suffered from debilitating chronic pain and anxiety. It was hard for her to leave the house and confidently interact with others.
Socialization is a very important part of caring for animals as intelligent as the raccoon; so it was by caring for Cody's needs that Kasey was able to break through some of her own challenges. "When I rescued him, he was so small, he was less than a kilo. When he went for his vet check at 14 weeks, he only weighed 2.5 kilograms - he could fit in the palm of my hand."
Kasey's mothering instinct and very practical care for Cody's needs have nurtured him into the brilliant, healthy 13 kg 'trash panda' that he is today. "He's so smart," she says with a laugh, "he can open doors, windows, cupboards and undo padlocks." As he grew stronger, it became dangerous to leave him alone in the house - he could get into everything, even the medicine cabinet. So, Kasey and her family built a 'trash panda' condo for Cody in the back yard. "He has everything: trees to climb, a swing, toys and puzzles to play with," she says. He even has a swimming pool!
What does a loving raccoon mother get for a boy who's got it all? Puzzles. "He loves puzzles," says Kasey, "he likes to figure out the kind that hide treats, but I think we might try to find something more difficult for him," she says with a laugh.
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