People accuse me of ‘abusing’ my chunky pet racoons because I treat them to McDonald’s and cookies – but they’re just really fluffy
A raccoon owner says her pets are constantly ‘fat-shamed’ online because she treats them to Wotsits, pizza and even McDonald’s, but insists their cuddly size is ‘all fluff’.
Dawn Ford, from Indiana, said she began posting about her two raccoons Lily and Salem after adopting them when they were just four-weeks-old, but only when they grew up did her clips soar in popularity.
The 47-year-old self-proclaimed ‘raccoon mom’ said her pets are fed ‘just like normal pets’, on a high-protein dog food diet, along with healthy foods, but they’re allowed cookies, pizza, and McDonald’s fries as treats.
Dawn claims both of her ‘chunky’ pets are perfectly healthy, with Lily weighing 24lbs and Salem 25lbs. Yet pictured next to her 5ft 2in frame, they appear larger than life.
A raccoon owner says her pets are constantly ‘fat shamed’ online as she treats them to Wotsits, pizza and even McDonald’s , but insists their cuddly size is ‘all fluff’.
Although the pet-lover has been accused of animal abuse, she insists that Lily and Salem are ‘all fluff.’
Dawn is hoping to end the stigma that raccoons are vicious animals and instead reveal that with proper care, and frequent check-ups at the vets, they’re just as safe as her three dogs.
Adorable videos captured by Dawn show her pets gorging on sweet corn and grapes as well as their calorific treats of McDonald’s fries, chicken nuggets, cheese puffs and even lollies.
Dawn said: ‘Lily’s favourite treat is BBQ chips and Salem’s favourite is chicken nuggets.
Dawn Ford, 47, (pictured with her racoon Lily) has asked for people to stop ‘fat shaming’ her two pet racoons
Dawn bought her raccoons back in May 2021 when they were just four weeks old and bottle fed them
‘It isn’t all the time, if I give them a cookie or pizza, it’ll just be because I’m having pizza for lunch, same if it was my dogs. On a normal basis, they eat a regular, high-protein dog food diet.
‘People think they’re fat but they’re not, it’s hair, it’s all fluff.’
Dawn explained that Lily looks a lot bigger than she actually is because she herself is only 5’2 and 110lbs.
The pet-lover said: ‘I don’t even mind people calling them ‘fat’, chunky or adorably fat, but they aren’t unhealthy or abused.
Dawn explained that Lily and Salem look a lot bigger than they actually are as she herself is only 5’2 and 110lbs
Dawn, from Indiana claims both of her ‘chunky’ pets are perfectly healthy, with Lily weighing 24lbs and Salem 25lbs
Dawn explained that Lily’s favourite treat is McDonald’s bbq fries, but insists that she also eats healthy
Salem is pictured here tucking into his favourite meal of McDonald’s chicken nuggets, he also likes wotsits
‘When I blew up, my followers went crazy. It was really nice at first but the hate was just incredible. It makes you doubt yourself, I know better but it’s hurtful.
‘I’ve called my vet and said “all these people are saying that they’re too big or unhealthy, are they?” and they assured me “no, they’re fine”. But you start to doubt yourself a little bit.
‘I’m not mistreating them, I love them and they are spoilt rotten.’
Dawn bought her raccoons back in May 2021 when they were just four weeks old and bottle fed them.
She claims that hers aren’t even the largest and that her vet sees some that weigh more than 40lbs.
The raccoon owner regularly shares videos of her unconventional pets on TikTok with her cute clips amassing thousands of likes and comments
Dawn said: ‘Lily is sweet and docile, she’s the one I’m always holding in videos. She’s so gentle.
‘Salem is very loving. He likes to lay on your lap. He lays with me on the couch and always wants to be petted. He’s more playful.’
The Indiana-based ‘Racoon mom’ feeds them cranberries, peanuts and cashews as supplements for more protein for their muscles.
Both Lily and Salem also love corn on the cob and need fruits and vegetables. However, the cheeky animals do enjoy a cookie now and again.
Dawn explained: ‘I don’t even think they eat anymore than my dogs do. Most dogs aren’t happy if they never get pizza crusts or bones, the raccoons are the same.
‘It’s just how you feed a normal pet. The same as I give my dogs pizza crusts, I give them pizza too. It isn’t bad or unhealthy.’
Dawn explained that you need a lot of time to take care of a racoon and because they get bored easily they need a lot of toys and attention
Despite some of the hateful comments, Dawn hopes that sharing Lily and Salem online will show people what loving pets raccoons can be.
She claims they’ve even helped a little girl who was attacked by a raccoon last year overcome her fear.
Adamant that her ‘quirky’ pets are no different to owning a cat or a dog, the 47-year-old also believes all animals and pets deserve proper care, regardless of if they are the ‘norm’ or not.
So her ‘spoilt rotten’ raccoons have plenty of toys inside their enclosure, have hammocks to sleep in and even suckle on cat balls as ‘dummies’.
The Indiana-based ‘Racoon mom’ feeds them cranberries, peanuts and cashews as supplements for more protein for their muscles
Dawn explained that she has gone to the vet about Lily and Salem’s weight after comments poured in off social media. The vet assured her however that both animals were healthy
Lily is pictured here nibbling on her favourite McDonald’s fries. Dawn has explained that she is a sweet and docile racoon
Due to their long fur, she also bathes them once a week and litter trained them like cats.
Dawn said: ‘Friends and family love them. Everyone adores them.
‘I spoke with a girl who had been attacked by a raccoon. We Facetimed and she got to see Lily and Salem and interact with them.
‘By the end of the conversation, she was begging her mom for a pet raccoon. There is so much misinformation about raccoons out there. It is just a lack of knowledge for these people.’
However, she explained that you need a lot of time to take care of a racoon and because they get bored easily they need a lot of toys and attention.
Lily and Salem love dog ropes, cat balls and stuffed animals, and like a dog they take the stuff out of their animals.
Because of how much they need Dawn insists that people do their research before taking on a pet racoon, or any pet.
The raccoon owner regularly shares videos of her unconventional pets on TikTok with her cute clips amassing thousands of likes and comments.
One critical comment read: ‘Animal mistreatment. Overweight and unhealthy.’
Another said: ‘That is so sad… poor thing needs a diet…’
A third wrote: ‘Obese pets aren’t cute.’
A more positive commenter said: ‘Cuteness overload!!’
Another remarked: ‘If a raccoon doesn’t look chunky, there is probably something wrong with it.’
A third said: ‘The raccoon is living the dream’