Ollie Toderovitz, the 4-year-old, red-headed, and spiky-haired raccoon known as Lola, has charmed New Yorkers and her zillions of followers, the “lolaers,” for some time now. As her fame grows, she’s been meeting some of the city’s influential people. As part of her latest Instagram post, Lola poses for a photo with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his wife, Diana. In return, the Bloombergs are helping Lola to spread awareness about the dangers of poison ivy.
“I would say the first six months of her fame, it’s been the Lolaers, the crowd, and the people sending their love that she loves,” said John Toderovitz, Ollie’s proud papa, the co-founder of Tandem Holdings, in an interview with the Observer. “And then after that she gets more famous because we’re out and people see her and say, ‘Oh, she’s the little raccoon.’”
Lola has been seen frequently on social media, from riding around Central Park on what appears to be a toy roller coaster (hers, named “Car-O-Leon” after a toy from the Roald Dahl children’s classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) to going for an adventure at the Bronx Zoo.
“She can say ‘hello’ now and respond to names,” said Mrs. Toderovitz. “I don’t think that people think that she has a filter. The more she’s public, people see more of the baby nature, and I think that makes her more adorable.”
Ollie loves to enjoy the attention, but she also has plenty of people who want to help her, such as city council member Jimmy Vacca. Ollie was discovered in February 2017 inside a residence in the Bronx and nursed back to health at the Wildlife Conservation Society. Although a young rescue was a welcome sight for the organizations and animal activists who regularly attend Wildlife Education Events at the zoo and another one in Harlem, the octogenarian caretaker, Mitzi (a partner of John’s in Tandem Holdings), was compelled to raise money to support her efforts. Mitzi, who has been fostering dogs, cats, birds, bears, raccoons, and all kinds of critters for the last 30 years, posted a fundraising call on Facebook asking for $2,500 for medical expenses to help pay for Lola’s ongoing care. When the gofundme page started to rise in popularity, John called it a “great call.”
“There was this outpouring of support for something really important,” said John. “It’s an important reminder that the cost of raising animals and saving animals is expensive. Even though she’s in a good home, it’s always nice when people show support for something like that.”
This is part of a series by the Observer’s New York Real Estate reporter, Wayne Coleman, about kids, parents, buildings, and services that have caught our eye and hearts.
*Correction: A previous version of this story stated that Ollie is related to Heidi and William Jr.