My point and shoot photo that made its way into the Smithsonian.
James Watt

As a vegan and animal rights activist, I’m glad that your friend was able to free the raccoon from the jar, and hope that including your photo in the exhibit helped prevent other animals from suffering the same fate.

As a photographer, I find your story interesting, as I just commented on another article that the value of a digitized creation includes the years of skill-building it might take the author to produce the work. Of course, examples such as yours and the many blurry amateur “breaking news” photos that are highly sought-after by agencies show another side to this story. Here, the value is not in the skill of the photographer, but in the relevance and (in the case of breaking news) timeliness of their work.

Regardless of the quality of the creation or the skill that went into making it, asking permission of the author to use their work is a good thing.