Nights in our rural development are consistently peaceful. Each house sits on roughly an acre of land and there is no through traffic. On this particular night, our dogs were sleeping , as they usually do, on the screened porch overlooking our fenced yard. “Boomer Bob ” and I were slumbering peacefully upstairs. So it was especially unnerving to be suddenly awakened by frantic barking and yelping coming from the rear yard.
This was desperate wailing that we had never before heard from these dogs and it was obvious that something was terribly wrong. Instantly awake, I began turning on all the lights facing into the rear yard to discourage whatever was taking place (human or animal ). B.Bob raced outside with a flashlight , grabbing a shovel stashed under the eaves.
It was hard to make out what was happening amongst all the frantic activity. But he soon realized that a raccoon was attacking the two dogs. Two dogs, who together weigh close to 200 pounds, were being attacked by a raccoon weighing closer to 20. Obviously, not clear thinking on the part of the raccoon –
— especially since he was the aggressor and had multiple opportunities to escape. Rabies immediately comes to mind.
B.Bob tried hitting the coon with the shovel when it had latched on to one dog’s snout but it could not be persuaded to release its bite. Failing that attempt, B.Bob raced inside for the gun which is stored , for safety, under lock and key, with the shells stored, for safety, under separate lock and key. The adrenaline is surging for all of us when he finally has a clear shot at the offender. It took 3 shots to be sure the attack was over.
We cleaned their injuries with peroxide and adjudged that they would need to see the vet as soon as the office opened.
The incident began around 3:30 AM and was over within 45 minutes. Of course, there was no more sleep that night. At the vets, although they were both up-to-date on their shots, they were given a rabies booster, a course of antibiotics for the next 2 weeks and a painkiller. She approved of our peroxide treatment of their injuries and advised us to notify Animal Control.
Thinking the authorities would want to be informed and test the remains, we contacted Animal Control. They told us that they do not handle wild animals and to call the Health Department. The Health Department told us we should be dealing with Fish and Wildlife. And Fish and Wildlife wasn’t interested. We had been a bit concerned about discharging a firearm and the ramifications. No need for that. Rural authorities seem to expect residents to take care of these things without involving them. Incidentally, not one neighbor heard a thing —- and we have since passed the word to others who have animals.
Lessons learned? Even in the best of circumstances, you are your own first line of defense. Law enforcement, if available, would have taken precious minutes to arrive and the dogs may well have ended up as collateral damage. In this case, ” all’s well that ends well ” was not a bad outcome.
” Boomer Babe”