Thursday, April 09, 2009
This morning, we awoke to the sound of what we at first thought were geese. Because it was 4:40 a.m. though, when Mark said, "oh no, I bet the dogs will start barking at the geese when they go out" I couldn't help but think it seemed early for geese. It was still dark out, by some folks standards, the middle of the night even.
Of course, as soon as the door was open, the dogs flew off the deck, barking loudly. They wouldn't come when I called them so I too went out onto the deck (in bare feet) to try to get them back. They were both down at the bottom of our yard, barking up toward the top of our 6 foot fence. A top the fence sat Daddy Raccoon. He was a big Daddy and I was terrified that he was going to lunge at the dogs. Those boys have razor sharp claws and can kill a dog if they're cornered.
It seemed like Daddy Raccoon was dancing along the fence. At one point, he dropped off the fence into our neighbours' yard, Seconds later, he popped his head up and seemed to be taunting Sam and Gracie. All the while, I'm still calling the dogs, my feet are frozen and I'm on the verge of tears. Mark came out (smartly wearing shoes) and was able to grab Sam and get them back in the house.
We sort of thought that the drama was over. Once we got back into the bedroom though, we could hear the geese sound again. Almost at the same time, we both wondered aloud if there wasn't a raccoon nest next to our house because we were now thinking that there baby raccoons somewhere. The sound was coming from the west side of our house which is a completely fenced area containing our air conditioner and some bark chips. The sounds we kept hearing were like something crying and scratching.
Mark went to the window and noticed that there were raccoons now up on our neighbours roof. What we think happened was the mommy and two babies got up there and the babies couldn't get back down. Daddy was trying to figure out how to get them down and then Sam and Gracie came along. He was taunting them earlier, kind of like "hey, look at me, don't look at the house next door where my family are trapped." We stood in the window, listening to the distress calls and seeing poor Daddy pacing across our fence, snorting like a piggy. Honestly, I've never heard raccoons before so this was educational but upsetting.
We started to get concerned about the dogs. We knew that we couldn't let them go back outside until the raccoons were gone and we started to worry that if the raccoons were trapped, Daddy could attack our dogs or one of the many dogs who would be coming out for their morning walks.
I decided to call the police communications office and find out if they had a 24 hour animal control line (because I couldn't find anything on our city website). They were nice and friendly but not really helpful. I ended up calling the Humane Society and put out a page to their emergency people. A lovely woman called me and when I told her what was going on, she assured me that as the light came up (this was around 5:30 a.m.), if mom and dad were around, they would move heaven and earth to get those babies down. She did say though, that if the sun was up and the raccoons were still up there, we could call back and they could coordinate some folks to help get them down. Fortunately, at a little after 6, just as the sun was coming up, I saw the mommy and the last baby on our neighbour's fence, heading for wherever home is.
I was really relieved that they were going to be okay. I waited another 30 minutes or so before letting the dogs out again. They didn't bark when they went out but they did go to the fence and sniff and explore everything, just to make sure it was safe. They're very good doggies.
Hopefully, our neighbours won't be too pissed about the barking so early in the day but sometimes, it just can't be helped!