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Dorothy “Dot” Lee is the full-time caretaker for Trouper, an 8-year-old raccoon.

As a tiny kit, Trouper was repeatedly clubbed by a golfer. She is now blind and brain-damaged.

“I see the beauty in him,” said Lee, who lives in south Fort Myers.

A retired teacher and licensed wildlife rehabilitator, Lee first saw the raccoon bleeding and immediately carried him to her North Carolina home. Unable to find assistance from veterinarians due to strict laws, she was forced to treat Trouper herself.

After five days of no improvement, she prepared to euthanize him, only minutes before he responded.

“One of my tears dropped on his little face,” she said. “I was telling him ‘I’m sorry little buddy.’ … And the little bugger opened his mouth and yawned and stretched.”

Miller made a promise to always care for the mistreated animal. So, she packed her bags and moved to a state where she would face no difficulties in raising him as her pet.

“He’s just an amazing little animal,” Miller said.

A Miami native, she sold everything, put him him in her car and drove to the Sunshine State.

“I will stick with you, and I will never let another human hurt you,” she said.

Lauren Grose |