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The Dancing Raccoon

Out for a stroll.

Out for a stroll.

The other night when Mom and I took the dogs out for their last walk of the night, I heard a terrible squawking sound. I couldn’t quite place it, but it was a mix of a little girl being tortured and birds flapping their wings and leaves rustling. I was concerned, but when I looked up into the woods I couldn’t see anything to explain the sound, and the lights from the complex illuminate the area well enough that a screaming child and her tormentor would have been visible.

The scene of the crime (or, the backyard).

The scene of the crime (or, the backyard).

I thought it might be a cat fight or a strange bird ritual that I didn’t want to be a part of, so I turned the girls back towards home. The rustling sound came closer though, and, of course, I turned around to see what it was, and there was the dancing raccoon. He was skipping out of the woods like little red riding hood, without a care, until he saw the dogs. I don’t think of my dogs as especially frightening, especially when Cricket is keeping her barking to herself, but to this raccoon they must have looked terrifying, because first he froze in mid-hop, then he backed up on his tippy toes like a bad cat burglar, and then he turned and ran back into the woods.

The raccoon looked something like this (not my picture).

The raccoon looked something like this (not my picture).

I really wish I had a video of the dance. He was a bruiser of a raccoon, clearly eating a lot of the cat food left out for the now scrawny feral cats, but my little white fluff balls intimidated the poop out of him.

Who knew raccoons were so cute? (not my picture)

Who knew raccoons were so cute? (not my picture)

To be fair, it’s possible that he’d been spying on us for a while, for days or weeks or months, and had decided that the little white dog with the curly hair and the big mouth was clearly the devil in disguise. Cricket can really scream. I feel bad for the workmen who’ve been traipsing in and out of the complex for the past eight months, because Cricket barks at them every single time she sees them, and tries to break her leash and lunge at them from fifty feet away. Even Butterfly gets a few deep barks out before she calmly sniffs their pant legs.

Crazy barking Cricket!

Crazy barking Cricket!

The big raccoon had probably written out a schedule of safe times to cross the yard to get to the garbage cans in front of the Seven-Eleven, and we ruined his plans by going out at an unexpected hour. He was making such a racket on his way down the hill that I guess he couldn’t hear us until he was just a few feet away.

This was my first raccoon sighting on the premises in a year. We have a lot of wildlife behind our building: we have chipmunks and squirrels and butterflies and snails, we have tiny birds and fly over geese and feral cats and home grown cats, and of course we have the dogs. But the raccoons have been keeping a low profile, and I’m afraid that this particular raccoon will do his best not to let himself be seen again, at least not by me and my scary, scary dogs.

Who could be scared of these two?

Who could be scared of these two?

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About rachelmankowitz

I am a fiction writer, a writing coach, and an obsessive chronicler of my dogs' lives.

163 responses »

  1. Tweeted it again. Such a popular post!

    Reply
  2. marethabotha2013

    Reblogged this on marethabothablog and commented:
    Rachel Mankowitz has a wonderful ability to write with so much insight and humour about the everyday things in life which make my day so pleasant. I loved reading about “The Dancing Raccoon” and his encounters with two very cute maltese poodles called Butterfly and Cricket. I hope I have their breeds right – the two remind me of my little doggy called Pixie 🙂

    Reply
  3. Great post. I would love to have seen the dancing raccoon! 😀 Be careful though. Raccoons can kill a dog if they get into a tussle.

    Reply
  4. Thank you for your response, Rachel. Hope Cricket wwill scare away potential robbers and protect the children. We used ti joke that our animals were of the kind that would lead the robbers right to the silver.

    Reply
  5. Are they Maltese? I have Dachshunds of which the male thinks he is a great Dane. He has tangled with the coons a time or two and usually comes off the worst. Thanks for stopping by my blog

    Reply
  6. I love the photograph of the Raccoon! What a super close up.

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  7. Raccoons are cute, but can really hurt a small dog. Your pups are too cute to mess with a raccoon.

    Reply
  8. We’ve seen some weird stuff with wildlife this summer including raccoons – not sure maybe the huge ice storm we had shifted the nature balance somewhere. Thanks for all your support with my posts. I really appreciate it Rachel 🙂

    Reply
  9. I’ve just started reading your canine adventures and love your storytelling!

    Reply
  10. A friend of mine in Maine had several raccoons try to get into her house once. She called the cops, thinking it was an actual burglar. Imagine her embarrassment when they discovered the truth, but we’re thankful it was just raccoons.

    Reply
  11. Omigosh. That raccoon picture is too cute.

    Reply
  12. My wife had one as a pet until it stole the food off her grandpa’s plate one lunch, on the farm it was goodbye raccoon!

    Reply
  13. Just tweeted this and another post. Yours is one of my favourite blogs, and I hope that others discover it, too.

    Reply
  14. What a fraidy cat racoon!

    Reply
  15. Really enjoyed your raccoon and the terrifying pooches! I am a dog nutter so always love to find a fellow soul!

    Reply
  16. Your little buddy reminds me of a little masked bandit who who visit me a few years, back. I used to fix him/her (?) peanut butter on bread if I didn’t have some kind of leftovers to leave out for him/her. It seems he/she would visit every night. Then one day, to my dismay, he/she quit coming around anymore.

    http://orples.wordpress.com/2012/03/09/meet-rocky-rockette/

    Reply
  17. Hi! I’ve just tweeted six of your wonderful posts 🙂

    Reply
  18. Raccoon is nearly as cute as the pups! Have a golden day!

    Reply

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