Stray animal in elderly woman’s basement highlights bigger issue

An 88-year-old Mingo Junction woman had a surprise creature living in her basement for eight days. (Courtesy: WTOV)

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ohio — An 88-year-old Mingo Junction woman had a surprise creature living in her basement for eight days.

It was a raccoon.

Dorthy Makara has lived on her street in Mingo Junction for more than 60 years. This was a first.

"I just started crying, and heck, I'm a nervous person anyhow and just come up and closed the basement door there because I thought it would come after me," she said.

She was looking for her cat, Zippy, but instead found a different furry friend.

"The only reason I was going down the steps was to look for him, and then when I looked in the corner, there was this raccoon," she said. "I really didn't know what it was until my son took a picture of it."

She thinks the critter got in her home when her caretaker was taking out the garbage.

Her grandson Brandon came over to try to capture it, and it wasn't an easy task.

"He said, ‘grandma I think you're going to have to adopt it,’” Dorothy said. “I said, ‘please, please Brandon don't tell me that. I'm afraid to go down there.’"

And a few traps later, and the raccoon was finally able to be set free.

"My grandson had these welding gloves on and he tried to catch him,” Dorothy said. “Well he bit the gloves and thank God, Brandon had the gloves on and he jumped."

He scurried off through a hole in a fence, and she hasn't seen him since.

While she's happy the animal is out of her home, she wishes more people would come to check on her and other elderly people out there.

"Out of seven, I'm the only one left," she said.

She lost her husband of 64 years 6 years ago and says she wishes she had more help.

"God bless the man next door, he cuts my grass in the back. He's done that for years. And he's a Godsend to me, but as far as like they say check on elderly people, they don't do it," Dorothy said.

"It seems like it's always about the kids, and when you stop and think about it, when you get my age you're almost like a child. You're helpless.

"And I don't know if there's any help out there. I have tried, but …. I just don't want to leave here."

Dorothy encourages you if you have elderly neighbors to check on them every few days.

It will really make a difference.

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