Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Frog Induced Panic

First, it was something breathing outside and then the raccoon.  Last Wednesday, it was a bull frog.  I know what you are thinking, how could I be afraid of a bull frog?  It turns out, very easily.

Matt took Dixie outside for her final bathroom break of the night.  He came back in and asked me to come back outside so he could show me something.  My first thought was, "crap, the raccoon is back".  Instead, he showed me this guy.

I removed the red eye from the picture to make him (or her) less menacing.  Your welcome.

Matt then placed Daulton's shoe next to the bull frog to show how big he is.  Daulton is currently wearing a size 3 shoe. 

And then Matt made, in my opinion, the poor choice to pick up the bull frog.  As soon as Matt made a move for it, it started to make its bull frog noise which caused me to panic and then yell at Matt for always trying to pick up wild animals. 

I think I have made it pretty clear that I am easily frightened and have a strong dislike for wild animals on my property.

The bull frog agreed because as soon as Matt had it by the legs it started screaming.  Seriously, it screamed.

My panic then turned to fright and my flight instinct kicked in and I ran inside.  Somehow, I managed to take this picture.  Sorry for the lack of focus, you try to run away while taking a picture. 

Did I overreact?  Probably.  Will this scenario happen again?  Unfortunately for me, probably. 

The only way this story could have ended happily for me, was if the frog would have peed on Matt.  It did pee, but his reflexes are too fast and he was able to not get peed on.  I know its wrong to wish a frog would pee on my husband, but its the fear talking.



Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Irrational Fear Is In My House - Part 4

Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 if you are new to the story.  Sign up to receive new blog posts delivered directly to your inbox!

Is the suspense killing you yet?  The short story is, the raccoon has been released and should be happily living in the wooded area behind our house. 

And here is the long story.

Everyone, except Dixie and I, had gotten too comfortable with the raccoon living in the garage.  The garage had turned into the raccoon's room.  And the raccoon was eating grapes and bananas out of Matt's hand and it was still taking the kitten milk replacement.  It was living the raccoon high life.

Unfortunately for the raccoon, it was also getting very hot outside and in the garage.  And since we are not investing in proper raccoon housing, it was time to let it go.  Matt's goal was to get it big enough to survive on its own and he accomplished that goal.

So one night after a baseball game, Matt loaded the raccoon into a small box and we walked back into the wooded area behind our house.  Matt and Daulton walked into the woods while I stayed safely in the yard. 

Matt sat the box down and the raccoon made no attempt to leave the box.  So, Matt carefully removed it from the box and the raccoon looked back at Matt, not quite sure what to do.  I believe the raccoon thinks that Matt is its mother, so I imagine the raccoon is going to have some abandonment issues.  Matt walked away from it and that was it.  No more baby raccoon. 

We haven't seen it since, but I was back there the other day and something was rustling around back there.  Needless to say, I didn't stick around to see what it was but I like to think it was the raccoon.  

This was definitely a learning experience for everyone.  I learned that Matt is a country boy at heart and I can move him to the suburbs, but I can never truly move the country out of him.  Matt learned that I don't deal well with wild, potentially rabies infested animals.  We learned that Dixie is an excellent tracker but cannot handle the stress of having a small animal so close for that long.

The ending of this story is significantly less dramatic than everything it took to keep it and feed it.  But I think this story has a happy ending.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My Irrational Fear Is In My House - Part 3

Read Part 1 and Part 2 if you are new to the story.  Sign up to receive new blog posts delivered directly to your inbox!

I hate to admit it, but the raccoon has become part of our routine.  Daily feedings, check.  Keep Dixie out and away from the garage at all times, check.  Container of kitten milk replacement and bottles on the counter, check.

Who am I?  What has become of my life?

Rocky, as my husband named him, seems to be thriving in our garage.  In addition to the bottles of kitten milk replacement, he has also started eating grapes, bananas, and kitten food.  I am pretty sure the raccoon thinks Matt is his mother and Matt is ready to trade the dog in for the baby raccoon.

The routine seems to be working, until the raccoon escapes.  Again.

It was a warm, sunny Saturday afternoon and I was settling onto the couch for a nap.  Matt was out in the garage, doing whatever it is guys do in garages.  He comes back in several times asking me why the dog keeps scratching the air return grate by the door and why wasn't I doing something about it.

Uh, I was trying to take a nap.  That's why I wasn't doing anything about it.

Again the dog is written off for being crazy, which she has been because there has been a raccoon in the garage.  Except there is a problem with Matt's assessment of the situation.  I watched Dixie because my nap ambiance was disturbed and she wasn't scratching at the grate.  She was intensely staring at it and her ears were perked up and her head was cocked in such a way that says, something is not right out there.

I fear the worst.

Matt quickly came in and confirmed my fear that Rocky, the raccoon, had escaped again.  And then he quickly added that I shouldn't worry because he had the situation under control and the garage is sealed off from the house.

We all know I am useless in these types of situations, so I stayed on the couch and took a nap.  Dixie was once again retrieved to locate the raccoon which this time had crossed the garage and was located on top of the small fridge.

I drew a terrible picture of our garage layout to give you an idea of how far it escaped as compared to the first attempt.  Nothing is drawn to scale and the measurements are not even close to being right.  And yes, that is my attempt at drawing raccoon tracks. 

 When I woke up from my nap and ventured into the garage.  I was told that the raccoon had been found and was placed back into his clearly-not-secure-enough-because-he's-escaped-twice-now container.  I was very alarmed at how quickly he had gotten to the door that leads to the house and that he was climbing all over stuff.  I feel like the entire garage needs to be decontaminated from the raccoon germs (I call it raccoon juice) that are everywhere.  And why are we not paying more attention to the signals Dixie is giving us? 

Needless to say, it was time for Rocky to go.  Everyone, except for me, had gotten a little too comfortable with the raccoon living in the garage.  Matt had accomplished what he set out to do which was to get the baby raccoon healthy enough to live on its own outside.

Part 4, Rocky's Release, is coming soon!  Again, thank you so much for your interest and raccoon stories.  If you like the story, share it on Facebook and Twitter with your own irrational fear or raccoon story!


Monday, June 6, 2011

My Irrational Fear Is In My House - Part 2

Read Part 1 if you are new to the story.  And if you are from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, this story is fiction.  If you do not work for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, keep reading.

The first night with the raccoon was rough because the dog went crazy barking and scratching at the garage door.  I was sound asleep, worn out from the trauma of having a live representation of my irrational fear in my garage.  My husband thought the dog was just being crazy, which she can be, and put her in the bedroom with us.

When Daulton and I woke up the next morning, Daulton wanted to go check on the raccoon.  I did not.  But he (Daulton, not the raccoon) is so cute in the morning and Matt was busy with other things so it was up to Daulton and I to check on the raccoon.

I put on Matt's work gloves and had my yellow duckie robe on for protection and slowly reached in to pull away the first towel.  It wasn't under the first towel.  I was ready to call it quits and leave it to the professional, a.k.a. Matt.  Instead Daulton tried to talk me into continuing to look for the raccoon.
Me:  Daulton, I'm scared.  I don't want to do this (look under the second towel).

Daulton:  Abby, don't be a sissy.  Just do it.

Me: Don't call me a sissy. I am really afraid and I don't want to do this.

Daulton: Don't act like a sissy and I won't call you a sissy. Now just do it.
I hate that he knows how to play me. 

I pulled the second towel out and still no raccoon.  At this point, I knew something was wrong.  The combination of Dixie acting crazy last night and the raccoon not being under the towels was sending my irrational fears into overdrive.  Daulton and I hauled ass inside to find Matt and report what we found, or technically, to report what we didn't find.

Matt took a quick look, laughed and said, "yep, its not in there".  At this point, I am ready to throw on the hazmat suits or never go in the garage again.  But I had to go to work and Daulton had to get to school, so Matt very calmly told us not to worry and he would find it later.

Well, later came and it was actually Dixie who found the raccoon.  Matt couldn't find it so he turned Dixie, the beagle, german shepherd mix, loose in the garage and she found it in about 5 seconds.  Apparently a bottle of kitten milk replacement will give a baby raccoon just enough nutrition to escape.  Its like steroids for baby raccoons without the roid rages and back acne.

Again, I get a call at work, this time telling me the baby raccoon has been secured and the dog is now on red alert because she has visual and smell confirmation that there is a woodland creature in the garage.

A side note on Dixie.  I've never been around hunting dogs but I would have to imagine that Dixie would fit right in, if she liked being around other dogs, which she doesn't.  Dixie once caught a chipmunk in our backyard and goes bat shit crazy whenever she sees a cat or coyote in the yard.  So having a raccoon in the garage almost sent her to the nut house.

It suddenly becomes crystal clear that this raccoon isn't going anywhere anytime soon and I'm not going near the raccoon, so basically I stopped going in the garage.

Raccoon: 1  Abby: 0

And why am I the only one who has the appropriate amount of concern and anxiety about the wild, possibly rabies infested, raccoon in the garage?

Thank you for your kind words and raccoon stories!  I am comforted and terrified at the same time.  I appreciate the support and I no longer feel like my raccoon fears are irrational.  If you like the story, share it on Facebook and Twitter with your own irrational fear or raccoon story!


Saturday, June 4, 2011

My Irrational Fear Is In My House - Part 1

If you work for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, the following story is fiction.  I made the entire thing up.  If you do not work for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, feel free to keep reading.

It was a sunny Tuesday afternoon and my darling husband was in his hometown helping with a pest issue at the rental house he maintains.  I had heard they had previously caught a raccoon in a live trap and released it far, far away from the rental house.  I had also heard that they later realized this raccoon was actually a momma raccoon and her two babies were left in the garage.

My husband being the rugged outdoors type and good landlord he is, was going to retrieve the baby raccoons and release them somewhere far away from the rental house.  I had hoped the babies would one day reunite with their momma in the wild, but I grew up watching Disney movies and perhaps this wasn't a realistic expectation.

I would like to take a moment to explain to you, faithful reader, that I have an irrational fear of raccoons.  It all started from a camping incident the summer after I graduated from high school.  I have been terrified since.  And no, I don't want to talk about it.  And yes, I realize its irrational.

So you can imagine my surprise when I receive a phone call at work from my rugged, outdoorsy, landlord husband.
Me:  Did you catch the baby raccoons?

Matt:  I caught one, the other one got away.

Me:  Well, one is better than none.  Where did you release it at?  (I start picturing the Disney-esque mother and baby reunion in the woods.)

Husband:  (silence)

Me:  Matt?

Husband:  I didn't release it yet.

Me:  What?

Husband:  Here's the thing.  Its pretty tiny, smaller than I thought it was and if I release it right now, it will just die and I can't do that.  So I am going to keep it in the garage and let it get bigger and then release it.

Me:  What?  (The Disney movie that's playing in my head comes to a screeching halt and the raccoon incident flashbacks begin.)

And that's how my irrational fear became a reality.  In my garage.  In a recycling bin with an exercise trampoline on top.  Yes, that was its cage.

That evening was spent Googling "what to feed a baby raccoon" and calling the local Petsmart to see if they have baby raccoon food.  We found out that the baby raccoon, which was later named Rocky, loves kitten milk replacement.  Or he hadn't eaten in the few days since his mother was captured.  It was probably a combination of both because he sucked it down.

I had always known that Matt is a self-proclaimed country boy.  But I am a city girl and we live in a suburb and not the country.  This kind of thing doesn't happen in the suburbs, until now.



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