Monday, August 29, 2005
While I was at work today, I suddenly noticed that everybody was making their way outside for some reason. After a time, I leaned so that I could look out the window to see what on earth was going on.
It appeared to me that some of the guys were taunting something in the back of one of the other fella’s pickup truck. I didn’t like the general mood of the group from what I could see of it, and decided to go out and see what was going on.
Apparently, a friend of The Nose owns a boat, and a Raccoon was going into the boat and crapping all over the place and eating things. He had placed a trap and caught the wee culprit. So here is this raccoon, scared shitless, with a bloody gash on its head, and both of its front paws literally skinned raw from trying all night (I imagine) to get out of the cage. It was panting, and its heart was beating a million beats a minute. It was absolutely terrified.
A couple of the guys were poking at it through the cage of the trap with sticks, taunting it and making it snap and growl and attempt to attack the stick.
This instantly pissed me off, as I figured the Raccoon had most likely had all the frightening it needed for quite some time. I quietly suggested that it was afraid, and that maybe it would be better if they left off the poking part and let it be. Someone responded that it didn’t matter, because they were going to take it and drown it anyway.
I asked why on earth they would want to drown it, and the group of replies were something along the lines of, “Because we can”, or, “Because it’ll be fun to watch!” I found this to be incredibly perverse, and basically stated; flatly, that they weren’t going to drown it, actually, and that I planned on taking it, right then and there, and releasing it. It had enough torment, and I wasn’t about to stand around and let it be killed for some asshole’s perverse enjoyment.
One of the guys commenced to poke at the raccoon through the cage again, and I gave him ‘the look’ and said “Don’t!” He smirked, and, apparently, deciding to test my mettle, poked again. I caught his wrist, tightly, and said again, with a little more sincerity, “I asked you not to do that…. DON’T do it again!” I released his wrist, and waited for what I was pretty sure was going to happen. Sure enough, he looked me dead in the eye, and began to poke at the animal once more. I reached for his wrist again, fairly sure that he had some half-assed plan to hit me or something. He decided to try to shove me away so that he could continue what he was doing. I let him make contact with my chest so that he would commit himself, and when he shoved, I pivoted and as he slid by me I twisted his arm behind his back, and clothes lined him with my other arm, dropping him onto the road beside the vehicle on his back. It was a hard fall, and I think it knocked the wind out of him. I took the stick away and poked him in the throat with it once, and asked him if he enjoyed the fun very much… he shook his head to assure me that it wasn’t much fun, and his eyes filled with tears. At that point, I felt sort of ass-holish and pulled him to his feet. I asked him if he was alright, apologized for dumping him on his ass, and explained that what he was doing was cruel and unnecessary. I turned to face the rest of the group and asked if anyone else wanted to have a go at me, and apparently, it wasn’t worth the trouble, because there were no takers.
The Nose wormed his way through the crowd and I told him that I was leaving to release the raccoon and that if the owner of the truck didn’t want to give me a ride, that I would take it in my own vehicle. He pointed out that I was working and wouldn’t be able to go. I pointed out that I wasn’t actually asking.
We stood there like that for a few seconds, and then he came to a decision and told the owner of the truck to take me wherever I thought it would be best to release the raccoon.
We drove to an area that I felt would be a suitable place for a raccoon to live, and I lifted the trap out of the back of the pickup. The raccoon was hissing and growling and launching himself at me. He snapped his teeth, and tried to reach me with his front paws, snarling and shrieking in terror and rage at me.
I walked a way into the woods with the trap and set it down.
The owner of the pickup said, helpfully, “You have to open that trap with your hand, there’s no quick release or anything… it’s going to go after you as soon as it gets out, because you won’t be able to back away fast enough. They were teasing it for a while.”
It was true enough. In order to let the animal out, I would have to reach in and actually pull the cage open, and hold it open. The door was spring loaded. There was no way to open it and back away.
I sat down next to the cage, and began talking to raccoon the way talk to my cats when they are frightened. I just sat quietly, and spoke as gently as I could, trying to reassure the raccoon that I meant it no harm.
At first it was backed against the far side of the cage, panting, growling, and hissing. After a time, it stopped growling and snarling… and after about ten minutes, it moved over to the side of the cage closest to me and lay down. I cautiously stroked its fur through the grille of the cage; somewhat frightened myself that it would suddenly turn and bite me. It didn’t though, and when I felt that it posed no threat to me, I simply reached around and opened the cage door.
The raccoon burst out of the cage and ran straight for the nearest tree. It stood on its hind legs and reached up, ready to climb to safety. I spoke to it again, in the same tone of voice as before, and it stopped and looked back at me. After a few seconds, it started to walk back towards me. This tightened my butt a little, because I wouldn’t have expected it to close the distance like that again after it had gotten free after its ordeal. It came to within eight or nine feet of me, and sort of bobbed its head up and down a few times at me. I kept on talking to it, and then it turned and began slowly walking away. When it was about fifteen to twenty feet away, it turned and stood again, looking back at me one last time, and then it turned and trotted off into the woods to begin exploring its new home.
The pickup truck owner said that whatever I had done was pretty awesome, and asked me where I learned to do that. I told him I had cats. He laughed at that, and said that he had been sure that I was going to be attacked, and confessed that he was worried that he would have to drive me to the hospital while I bled all over his vehicle.
He dropped me off at work, and later on when he stopped in to drop off paperwork and such, he told everyone what had transpired.
So now I am hearing a lot of Dr. Doolittle jokes….
I’ll take the ribbing… I just hope the little feller makes out alright…