Monday, May 20, 2013

Raccoon Anniversary

This last week I took some time off here and there to get away from work for a bit and spent much of that time off working on the garage path project - see last post.  But because I had that time off and spent a lot of time out in the back yard I was a part in retired nice neighbor Dave's nuisance - that became ours as well.  It seems a raccoon had taken up residence in the attic of the back part of his house, through an odd corner in his roof that I can see plainly from my back yard.  He talked to me about it over the weekend, 8 days ago.  It seems there was no or little access to the attic from inside, and later told me he called a service to remove it.  In fact, we saw the raccoon that Sunday evening sitting outside the hole on the roof.  The cats were probably why we noticed.

The critter guy showed up on Monday, probably early afternoon, I was planting plants in the pot out front.  After the critter guy and neighbor Dave walked back to look and discuss, they approached me to ask if I had any problem with it being killed.  I told them no, I know it had to go, I was hoping that would be the end of it, but it was just the beginning.  The critter guy rigged up some plywood and wire mesh contraption to steer the animal out and into the trap.  Asphyxiation, he said, is how it would die.

Yes, the next morning, Tuesday, I saw it hanging there off the roof, having gotten strangled by the trap.  I warned my wife that may happen and closed the blinds on that side of the porch.  I know it bothered my wife, but she did her best to block it out the next morning.  My wife doesn't know this, but that did bother me a quite a bit then, it was still twitching when I left for work so I know it had to be a very slow, painful death.  Yet, I was hoping that was the end of it and all would be forgotten and the hole patched up.  I was very wrong.

On Thursday morning I was out working and saw 3 different raccoon babies making noises and venturing only just outside the hole the critter guy left so he could catch their mother.  I alerted neighbor Dave to this and he gave the critter guy a call.  He arrived shortly and was able to get two of the baby raccoons, leaving one of my confirmed sighting of three.  Wrong again.

On Saturday morning we were outside working and saw 3 baby raccoons crying for their mom and venturing outside the hole.  Again I alerted Dave, this time I had to call him, he's hard of hearing so I didn't know if he just couldn't hear me knock on his door or not.  Turns out, he was down by the lake fishing.  After riding his bike back, the 3 little ones were still up there making a fuss so he called the critter guy again.  Again the critter guy showed up in short order and managed to wrangle two more of the baby raccoons.  The fifth, and last, baby raccoon baby got back inside the hole.  This is Saturday, 5 days without its mother.

That evening we were hosting a party for some close friends for our 12th wedding anniversary.  We were all outside and couldn't help but watch the little raccoon up on the neighbors roof, but what could we do?  Neighbor Dave was out for the evening and I didn't want to have to call him again.  Eventually the little raccoon fell off the roof.  Nearby was an empty garbage can so I used my grabber to pick up the baby raccoon and place him in it.  Over the night some gave him grapes and popcorn, but we're not sure if it ate any.  When the party ended I gave neighbor Dave a knock and he had just arrived home so I filled him in.  I'm sure he called the critter guy first thing in the morning but he just got their answering service.  This was Sunday, I guess critter guys don't work on Sunday.

All day Sunday we would hear the baby raccoon in the trash can, when it napped we thought it may be dead, but no, it still seemed amazingly well at times for being over 5 days without its mother and, presumably, any source of food or water.  Meanwhile, this was really eating at my wife, Kate.  I tried to take the stance that it's not our problem but she had to do something.  And, yes, rightfully so.  After consulting her sister she eventually found where she could take it immediately.  After I asked Dave to call the critter guy once more to no avail, we boxed up the baby raccoon and she took it to a shelter for that type of animal.  This was late Sunday evening by now.

The baby raccoon now hopefully has a new life, my wife's conscious is clear, and I love her for making a stand and saving the little one.  Alone, I would have blocked it out as much as I could for one more day, and probably felt terrible about it.  I'm not sure what that means, macho man stuff maybe?  I don't know.

I love you, Kate.  Happy 12th anniversary.

(This story is a bit simplified from the full details, but I'm no novelist)

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