NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – George Simmons, the owner of ‘Coonsie’ the raccoon, is heading back to Idaho Wednesday morning without Coonsie as he and other searchers haven’t been able to find her yet.
“Well, I got to go back home,” Simmons said holding back tears. “I got a bunch of stuff to take care of back there.”
Standing next to the park Tuesday afternoon where the searches started, is where it will end for Simmons for now.
“I don’t want to go home without her, it’s going to be a long trip home,” he said.
Simmons originally came from Idaho to cut trees around power lines during Oklahoma’s late October ice storm. He brought his two pet raccoons, Lucy Lou and Coonsie, with him. Coonsie wandered off while Simmons was working, and they haven’t been able to find her.
The over 50-pound raccoon has been gone for close to three weeks.
The Norman Fire Department, community members and even Lucy Lou have taken to the streets over the last three weeks, trying to find her.
“People here are amazing, that’s all I got to say,” Simmons said.
“It’s been overwhelmingly the biggest blessing that I’ve encountered,” said Heather Thomason, a woman who helped Simmons organize searches, “Just meeting the community and just seeing so many people pull together and try to help this gentleman from Idaho.”
Simmons said he has had a passion for wildlife his entire life. He considers Coonsie to be one of his kids.
“He just loves his animals,” Thomason said. “I think he has a different telepathic way with them than most of us do.”
The search team has come close to finding her, however, according to Thomason. They got a tip that Coonsie may have been found in Kansas. However, after Simmons’ overnight trip up there, it didn’t turn out that way.
“It wasn’t her,” Simmons said.
They have started a public Facebook page that you can visit called ‘Help Find Coonsie’. Thomason said they are not accepting donations, but they will continue pushing through while George is gone, continuing the searches.
“We’ve learned a lot about looking for raccoons now,” Thomason said laughing.
“If they find her, I’ll be back the next day,” Simmons said. “Just keep looking for her. I’m not too far away.”
Thomason said this is all for a man who came to help Oklahomans in a time of need during a daunting ice storm.
“We’ve got to find Coonsie for them. For Lucy, for George, for Anna, Coonsie needs to go home and it’s up to us to get that done,” Thomason said. “I can’t wait to make the phone call that we found her.”
Simmons has left his mark on Oklahoma, even saving a cat from a tree that the fire department reach. Simmons said he wants to come back to the Sooner State as soon as he can.
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