Zorro Arrives at Dusk!

By the way, it’s not just my sister that loves animals! No, my wife is a fervent animal lover, too! Last year, there were three giant raccoons roaming the immediate neighbourhood! One of our neighbours discovered raccoons had got into his attic via the eaves! (Those footsteps in the night, as it turned out, were no ghost!) The neighbour sorted that mess out, somehow, but he needed outside help to do it.

So far, we haven’t seen “The Three Musketeers’ this year! But there have been visits by a smaller raccoon. My wife spotted him one evening at dusk when the temperature was well below zero. “He looks so hungry,” she said, “he must be starving, poor thing!” Well, I know better than to get between a female bear and her cubs, and this had all the signs of being just as dangerous. The black mask over his eyes had won her over completely! She started putting out supper for him – or is it a “she”? No sooner had we finished supper, than there was a scramble to salvage what remained on the plates or in dishes for her nightly visitor. I even began to feel guilty if I left nothing on my plate!

The guy (or girl) comes around at dusk, and eats the meal in the aluminum pie dish. Then he looks around for more. “He must be starving!” she says. He sashays over towards the patio door to check out the recycle bin. On the second night he got a bit more daring, as one would expect any Zorro to be! He got up on his hind legs and looked in the patio door. Now, I’m starting to worry! Recently, I had seen a commercial of a shortsighted woman standing at her patio door at disk, calling her cat to come into the house. But instead of the cat, a raccoon comes in and ends up sleeping at the foot of her bed! It’s a wonder my wife hasn’t invited this guy or girl in yet! He is at least as big as Sammy was. The neighbours would go ballistic if they knew what she is doing! (My sister wrote back to me and said, “I would go ballistic, too, if she were my neighbor! We have one around and he will be in my little fish pond if I don’t keep an eye out!!”

My wife and I talked it over and she weakened. “Maybe I’m encouraging him! Oh, but he is so cute and looks so hungry. Still, maybe “we” should stop feeding him”??? So that night, she put no food out, but felt terribly guilty!

Guess what? “The cat came back – thought he was a goner, but the cat came back the very next day!”

Well, maybe not the cat, but the raccoon came back again! But tonight, he was not a happy camper!  Looked for the aluminum dish that was previously used…………nothing there! Came up to the recycle boxes, looked around ……………nothing there! Tried to climb up the steel pole to my new thistle bird feeder but couldn’t because it has a baked “enamel” finish. (He had already knocked my suet holder of the serviceberry tree, breaking a small branch in the process.) It was a very disappointed raccoon, and the eyes behind his mask started to look a little menacing!

My wife had agreed that “we” have to stop doing this! Obviously, the raccoon hadn’t yet agreed because he came right up to the patio door and looked in …for my wife. She was lying low at the time. I banged on the glass door and he retreated maybe six feet, turned and came back to the window. I summoned up all my courage and opened up the door and shooed him off. He ran… back under OUR deck! (Oh boy, that’s where he has taken up residence.) I closed the back door… Anyway, I’d seen him off for tonight, and in no uncertain manner! All it had needed was a little firm action on my part! For some things there’s just no substitute for a man’s authoritative manner.

A minute or two later, remembering how my wife used to see him and rush to give him something to eat, and how if he ran he could come right back because by then she would have put his dinner out, he came back again looking for his dish!! He was back, and looked around to see if I was still huddled at the patio door. I was. So much for my display of authority; he figured we were just a couple of pushovers.

Disgusted at both of us, he casually sauntered across the deck and then stood looking out over the patio for a few moments. He was obviously trying to decide whether to launch another attack on the patio door, or look elsewhere. After all it was garbage night, and the pickings might be better in someone else’s garden!  In the meantime, we kept our heads down and the lights off, as we do at Halloween when we get fed up with trick and treating teenagers knocking on our door at eight o’clock at night. (Come to think of it, the raccoon’s supper time is also around the same time of night!)

Presently we peeked out …. carefully. He had gone, at least for tonight …maybe. So now I have to figure out our next move. We don’t want to hurt the little guy, but he is insistent. (And he’s not so little either; I guess he’s as big as or bigger than our Bichon Poo Sammy was.) We think we have a plan! We are going to assume he is equivalent to a teenaged member of a gang, and cut off our food supply to him! And if he doesn’t leave to look for some other place that gives free room and board, then I’ll have to find a way to forcefully evict him …humanely of course, but with more determination!

But then, just as I tell myself everything is under control, my wife adds, “He looks so cute – just like Zorro or the Lone Ranger with that black mask over his eyes!”

Stay tuned…  I think he’ll be back again tomorrow, and I’m just afraid she might set a place for him at the dinner table!

Gerry Wood, April 14, 2014