Sunday, October 12, 2008

Raccoon Rodeo

Friday morning, creeping around in the dark so as not to wake the Princess or the Gingerbread Cookie, I heard the eeriest, creepiest growling and hissing outside the dining room window. Normally, as soon as my foot falls into the room, Chudleigh is exuberantly greeting me at the window; one of these days he is going to break through it and find himself right here amongst us having breakfast, but today he didn't even show up. That in itself was strange, and coupled with the growling and hissing, it really called my attention.

I went over to the window, and there was Chudleigh, running circles around a...a...a...what was that out there in the dark?! Chudleigh was bowing, face close to the ground, butt sticking way up, and tail wagging to beat the band, as our 102-year-old Granny would have said. He was bouncing and prancing, sometimes daringly closing in for a better swipe and always jumping quickly back out of the danger zone, obviously wanting to play. But the growling...well, I have never heard anything quite like it, and it seemed a pretty clear indication that whatever it was out there didn't share his enthusiasm.

It took a few minutes before I was able to discern that it was a raccoon. Interesting! But I was in a hurry to be out of the house early that morning, and the whole scene was beginning to cause me some irritation, even while it fascinated me. It took another few minutes to realize that the raccoon was wounded. Now what? I could have left Chudleigh to his own, I suppose, but I feared for his safety, even though he clearly did not. What to do...? Well, as is so often the case... I decided to call on my Man. I easily managed to rouse him out of his sound sleep, however, I did not manage to win his interest. The Great Possum Hunter heard me out and then turned over and went back to sleep. Uh-oh.

It then occurred to me that we have an animal control officer in this town, though I was doubtful of getting in touch with him at this early hour, so I decided to call the police. Once I had a plan, I began to put it into action. Or tried to, but right away I hit a snag. I didn't really want to call 911 as we did not have a real emergency here. Yet. So that meant calling the non-emergency number. So far so good, except that, even though we have three current phone books around here, I could find only one...the one with the non/emergency numbers page ripped out. Well, the best laid plans...and I was back at Square One, only now in a bigger hurry. And then I vaguely remembered ~ The last time I called the police on non-emergency business, the phone number was the same as our street address back in the far-away days of Hermitage. Go figure. But sure enough, almost immediately I had the friendly local police dispatcher on the line.

It was, as I feared, too early for animal control, but she promised to send over an officer. I had to leave before long (Actually, I should have left long before.), but by this time, the Great Possum Hunter was up and dressed and outside with his flashlight checking things out, so I left the situation in his capable hands.

He told me when I got home later that morning, that the officer had asked to see the raccoon, but when he saw that there was a dog to be "controlled" along with a possibly mad raccoon, well...sometimes discretion is the better part of valor. He got back in his car and called animal control out of their warm beds, and Chudleigh found himself shut up in the garage in the meanwhile.

I was gone when the animal control guy came, so I missed the whole thing. I missed the animal guy parrying with and poking at the raccoon. Its back legs may have been paralyzed, but it did not have any trouble whipping itself around to face, and threaten, its tormentor. I missed the wrestling match, ending with the noose around the raccoon's neck. I missed the raccoon's deportation, with Chudleigh frantically trying to scratch through the garage door.

In the two days since the raccoon's banishment, Chudleigh has been behaving very strangely, barking and pawing at the places where the raccoon had rested before being hauled off, so in a weird sort of way, the Raccoon Rodeo lives on...

On a totally unrelated note...This morning as I was getting out of my car at the post office, I noticed a man with a splint on his nose going in. Later, as I related the incident to D, she began to laugh and said, "I just came from Walgreen's, and there was a man with a splint on his nose in there." After we finally stopped laughing, we both said, "Don't you think it's the same guy?!" Has to be. We have never seen anyone with a splint on the nose that we can remember, and how many can there be in a small little town like this?

Like we said.... It rains it pours...

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