Teri Vance: A raccoon’s age at our house

Jason Gardner competes in the newspaper toss during the End of Bike Week Party on Friday evening in McFadden Plaza.

Jason Gardner competes in the newspaper toss during the End of Bike Week Party on Friday evening in McFadden Plaza.

In the past, I’ve told you about my efforts to teach Roxy, my Rottweiler mix, to use the doggy door. (It’s been successful in she uses it when she feels like it, but sometimes she just chooses to pee in the house. But that’s a story for a different time, which involves the sad process of watching your dog get old so it’s not one I like to to talk about …)

I also let you in on it when a lizard apparently used the door to come inside the house.

So it’s only right I let you in on the latest of the doggy door saga.

I woke up at 1 a.m. Wednesday to the sound of dog food crunching. I can’t convey the horror of hearing that sound and leaning over the edge of the bed to see the dog sleeping soundly.

“Do you hear that,” I whispered to Gary, who startled awake, thereby startling the creature.

We heard somewhat of a commotion, but by the time we got into the kitchen, all was still. So still, Gary began to doubt anything had happened at all.

I thought maybe I might have exaggerated it, and eventually just went back to bed.

Then the next night. At the same time. I heard it again.

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

I peek over. Roxy’s sleeping in the same spot. (So is Gary).

I did my best to creep out, but it’s not so easy when you have a dog under your feet. I flipped on the bedroom light and looked into the kitchen, just in time to see the flip flap of the doggy door.

Now, I imagined the worst — a rat so big and wily, like the Rodents of Unusual Size from “The Princess Bride,” it could go in and out of the door.

I slid the plastic door in front of the flap to block access and went back into the bedroom. Then came the scraping. This creature was trying to get through the plastic door. I froze in fear.

This time, Gary went creeping out. He flipped on the light, and I hear him exclaim, “Holy cow!” (or something similar to that). “It’s a raccoon!”

We had a raccoon in our house! Twice!

I came out to see the face of a bandit peering in through the glass door. And I was instantly charmed.

“Look how cute he is,” I said.

“He’s not cute. He’s vermin. He’s a rodent,” Gary replied.

“Yeah, but he’s vermin in a Zorro mask,” I said.

I had different responses when I told friends about it the next day — a divide that mimics the arguments we’ve been having in our home as I Google, “How to tame a raccoon.”

Friend One: “I can’t believe you guys locked it out! Did you at least put out a bowl of food?”

Friend Two: “At least where you are Gary can shoot him and not piss off all the neighbors.”

Gary says he’s giving me a coonskin cap for Christmas. I say I just need a leash to take our new pet on walks.

Teri Vance is a journalist, freelance writer and native Nevadan. Contact her with column ideas at terivance@rocketmail.com.


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