Firefighters are accustomed to helping out in their communities, whether that be in the case of humans or animals alike.
When it comes to helping out in the neighborhood, the familiar cat-stuck-in-the-tree scenario is one that has played out across countless towns, cities and neighborhoods across the country.
Firefighters in Dalton, Georgia were called to a scene of a completely different kind, however — one that caught police chief Todd Pangle and his staff completely off-guard.
Pangle told Newsweek that his department was summoned to a house in the area after a homeowner recently, saying they heard a strange noise coming from behind the refrigerator.
When the crew arrived, they shined a light behind the appliance and immediately saw two little eyes staring back at them, an unexpected development for a rescue crew that is used to emergencies of an entirely different kind.
“You Never Know What the Day is Going to Hold…”
The pair of eyes belonged to a raccoon, who had apparently gotten stuck inside the house while searching for food, and was having trouble finding his way out.
“You never know what the day is going to hold when you show up for your shift as a firefighter,” the City of Dalton department wrote on its Facebook page.
“Sure, there may be the occasional cat needing to be rescued from a tree, but a raccoon? That’s a new one.”
The firefighters were able to gain control of the situation after a crew member carried the startled raccoon outside.
In a photo that has now gone viral, the raccoon appears as if he is quite embarrassed about the whole ordeal after his “mugshot” was posted to Facebook.
“It’s really nothing to be ashamed of,” the fire department wrote.
“We all need a helping hand every now and then.”
Since the photo has been shared thousands of times on Facebook, some have accused the firefighters of staging the picture by moving the raccoon’s paw.
One commenter named Herbert had the following to say:
“The guy is CLEARLY pushing raccoon´s arm forward and by doing it the raccoon is forced to constrain and as he bends elbow to protect his face from possible harm, the trick pix happens. People are now doing ‘anything goes’ acts to gain popularity on Facebook.
“And the poor animal is the one to pay the price. total nonsense!!!”
A commenter named Brandi disputed the man’s claims.
“Raccoons cover their eyes when they’re scared. I seriously doubt they actually needed to ‘pose’ him.”
Responding to the comments, the department said the priceless photo-op happened naturally and that the animal’s safety was taken into account.
“The firefighter is holding the animal in a way that will neither hurt the raccoon or allow the raccoon to turn on the firefighter,” they wrote in a comment.
Despite the embarrassment that was plastered all over the face of this mischievous raccoon, he was released into the wild, and has now become an Internet celebrity.
“He’ll hopefully be less adventurous in his search for snacks from now on,” the department wrote.