The Procyonid

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Newt in the Back Seat

This post is not about Newt. He was thought of, but present only in spirit.

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It has been raining here a lot for the last three days. Last night when we went to bed it was pouring and Dixie did not want to go outside in the rain. I was too tired to force the issue.

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At 1:00 a.m., after I had gotten up to go to the bathroom, Dixie decided she needed to go.

Out the bedroom door and down this short hallway we went (that is the linen closet there on the right) and here is where the story turns . . .

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literally, to the left down this hallway.

There are two things you need to note about this stretch of the hallway:

  1. Those marks there under the electrical outlet are not dirt – they are claw marks from Dixie as a puppy trying to round the corner and slipping into the baseboard, which she would then use as traction to propel herself down the hallway.
  2. Notice the boots there prominently in the center of the picture? When Dixie was young and I would move things or put a box down in a room, it would startle her if she had not been around to see it all go down and she would bark ferociously at the perceived usurper.

When we rounded that corner, she took off. Gaining traction on the baseboard for the umpteenth time in her life Dixie launched herself at those boots. Hackles raised, crouched low, an ominous bark issued forth from the depths of her chest as she savagely greeted those boots!

As I tottered after Dixie in a sleep coma and started to reach for her, I saw something next to those boots! “Oh no” I thought, “Newt!” Keep in mind I have not turned on any lights – this is all happening in the dark.

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Newt often likes to curl up on our shoes on the right side of the door under the jackets.

In my sluggish haze as I stood at the mouth of that hallway, I started to pull Dixie off the cat and to push the cat away from Dixie. That is when I noticed that it was not a cat all.

I began to scream. I was thinking, “Is that a person crouched there?” Then I realized, it was an animal, just not one of mine.

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You can see why I thought it might be Newt can’t you?

It was a raccoon. The largest member of the procyonid family. My thoughts cacaded one after the other. “Oh know, is it rabid? I almost touched it! Is it going to attack me? Is it going to attack the dog?”

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Right there between the boots and the shoes, my dog was bent on having a showdown with this water-logged, masked mammal. I began trying to grab for Dixie without touching the raccoon but amidst this din of noise (my yelling, Dixie’s barking and I am sure the raccoon’s hissing) I started to hear a roar.

You remember the lights are still out right?

I wondered what additional calamity could be befalling us. Then I looked up and there was The Southern Gent coming down the hallway, with Laddies hot on his heels, towards me at a speed I had never seen him achieve during the morning hours in a full battle yell ready to bring down what he perceived, from my screams, to be an intruder.

I quickly assured him of my safety and began to wrangle Dixie out the back door. After dissuading Laddie from engaging the enemy, The Southern Gent took to the task of removing our uninvited guest. Like a lion tamer . . .

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he picked up the Brown Chair, opened the front door, turned on the lights and began to shove our wet interloper out into the wilds from whence he came.

It appeared to be a bit of a toss up at first whether he would actually depart. His eyesight flooded from the lights and his senses dazed from our clamorous welcoming, he seemed in no hurry to turn his back on us and head out into the stormy night. We decided to turn off the lights, The Southern Gent applied a bit more force on the chair and the raccoon relented. He eventually ambled out the door and down the steps and was soon swallowed up into the blackness.

I looked for signs of him the next morning but didn’t see anything. Hopefully he found a dry place to hold up for the remainder of the dark hours.

Thanks for reading this installment of “Living Wild at the Abel’s.”

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