There’s going to be a few places with large chunks of text dealing with the racoon encounter and it’s aftermath. But here are a bunch of pictures too. But we’ll start with a video from June 11… it’s Nim. She’s a talker. She’ll let ya know she wants your attention, and will let you know the whole way up the yard to where you are… and then she’ll continue to talk with ya… Nim, you’re a sweetie!
And here is June 12, in the middle of doing Egg-A-Day, Gnar stalks past with… his dinner… or put another way, a small rabbit. (Ok, yah it sounds horrible, but cats and dogs are carnivores… and either he eats a rabbit which has lived free range and felt the sun and rain and lived free and all that stuff, or he eats kibble which is made from some sort of meat and other filler products and I’m guessing it wasn’t a free roaming meat creature… I’d love to have the time and resources to feed a raw diet or one of those super expensive kibbles from free range bison and sweet potato, but I have to settle for something that’s a little less high price… currently they’re getting one of the Diamond brand grain free ones, and otherwise it’s 4Nature All Life Stages… so it’s not horrible, but it could be better…but anyway, a fresh caught rabbit is probably more in line with what Gnar’s body is designed to eat than crunchy protein kibble things).
And yes, he ate it. I know many cats bring home stuff and leave it… I suspect they think I’m starving or hopeless at feeding myself or something… or on the catkins diet, but Gnarly usually eats what he brings home.
Here are some more pictures from June 12, these are Elderberry flowers just starting to bloom… they kind of remind me of popcorn trying to POP open..
And now, the over the night of the 12th, my alarm was messed up, so one went off in the p.m. when I had wanted it to go off earlier in the day in the a.m. to remind me of whatever… so instead it went off just after 11 p.m., and as I wrote in the Egg-A-Day, I schlepped tiredly down stairs thinking that despite getting to bed just on time, I was seriously tired and wished I didn’t have to get up to go to work yet.. I realized oops, it’s the wrong alarm. I let the dogs out to pee, and then went to do the same myself on the human facilities. And then…
At about 11:09 p.m. the dogs had been outside for a minute or so, and then as I was taking a chance to wee (inside, so I never saw how this started), I heard a serious amount of commotion outside. A lot of things happened in a short amount of time, I ended up outside screaming at the dogs to stop, leave it, and simultaneously freaking out internally because that raccoon had been stupid enough to be INSIDE the fence… and had been cornered up in the corner by shed and coop… where Kyle was attempting to kill it, Ralf wanted to … inspect it? Bite it? Bark like crazy at it and sorta wanna be pick it up but never actually touch it and listen to his human who said leave it and back off, ok so back off but wait she’s going back and screaming more, so maybe I should go back and bark and I dunno something else at that creature too… (Ralf was not sure what to make of the whole thing, but making noise was a good way to deal with it). And I was worrying about injury potential to the dogs, hoping that Kyle would get a lucky grip and give a good shake and miraculously break the coon’s neck and it would have a nice quick death, end of issue for the chickens, end of risk to the dogs, no worries of … but that didn’t happen. I was squirting the combatants with herbal bug spray (not toxic or injurious but seriously STINKY and nose stabbing) in the hopes it would distract them… Ralf kept backing down and running in, the coon kept running around the truck topper shed in the corner area, followed by Kyle (determined to GET THAT BUGGER), I kept screaming and chasing them ’round, considering getting something to shoot the coon with but deciding that was a bad idea, as I’d never get a clear shot, and could just as easily hit one of the dogs…and wishing it would just stop, and nobody would be hurt, …and finally after about say, 10 years (ok, probably closer to 1 or 2 minutes? I don’t know), the coon managed to get in a crevice that was between the shed and stuff leaning on it, and Kyle didn’t run around the shed fast enough to elude me this time, and I was able to drag him and muster Ralf back inside… and continue freaking out.
Both dogs, I will say now, have been current on their rabies vaccine since we adopted them, so around nine years (wow, has it been that long?), and had been vaccinated with the 3 year booster last year, so I wasn’t like OK we’re getting in the car RIGHT NOW to the 1 hour away emergency vet place which is the closest vet open on unusual business hours. I did a cursory check of Ralf, and then tried to get a look at Kyle, who had yelped at one point, just before he got a grip on the coon’s shoulders from behind and gave a decent shake or two. I spotted a couple minor nicks on his muzzle, and his left ear had some medium/shallow cuts, probably tooth marks. Some blood, but not gushers… so I quick checked the internet to see if there was something other than rabies to worry about with coons…the dogs are up to date on their 5-way distemper, and rabies, and Lymes disease, but what if…? So it turns out, and sorry for so much text but in case there are others out there that have coon issues and dogs, etc. some things to consider.
There really isn’t a treatment for rabies. It’s basically fatal. It’s really contagious. So… PREVENTION is really, really important. Humans can get it… cats can get it… dogs can get it… I’m pretty sure all mammals, and some other critters can get it. You don’t want it.
First off, protect yourself. Don’t put your skin where it will get bitten (like between the dog and the coon…). Once the fight has been stopped (opinions vary on efficacy of garden hoses, broom sticks, etc. and also options vary by dog size and location of the fight) you’ll want to do some things for yourself, because the virus is present (if the other critter is actually rabid, which they can be before they are showing any obvious signs) it is present (of the several places it hangs out) in that critter’s saliva. So, if the coon has slobbered on your pet, you’ll want to wear gloves and long sleeves, etc, while checking the pet over… Having already touched Kyle’s face once to see if his eyes and nose and every thing was roughly ok while my Kindle was booting up and search engine results were loading. Once I learned this part from the internet, I washed the bejeebers out of my hands, and used hand sanitizer several times… because in addition to being nasty and fatal and contagious, the virus is also rather fragile out of the living body. A few hours in the environment and it dies, soap and washing can dislodge it, and alcohol, iodine, and a few other antiseptics can kill it (ok, it’s a virus, technically, not quite “alive”… so deactivate it… but you get the idea). Then I put on long sleeves, pants (it was hot and so my pj’s weren’t covering the extremities) and then gloves, and assembled some first aid items.
If your dog isn’t rabies vaccinated, you’re a big derp. Clean all those wounds with one of a few kinds of antiseptics, and hope that you can dislodge the virus from the wounds before it manages to get a established. Then get to a vet, so they can actually clean the wounds (because they can sedate the dog if necessary and actually get to the wounds without the dog squirming or worse) and do other medical stuff, I think they probably will vaccinate. You may or may not have lost your pet, so I’m not all for over medication and big pharma and all that hypochondriac scene…but seriously, rabies vaccine while not only legally required in many places is in my opinion, worth the risk of vaccine reactions and cost compared with a dead dog because some critter wandered into your yard and your dog followed it’s instinct to protect it’s territory and get that small furry critter.
If your dog is vaccinated, again, clean it out the wounds, because a vaccine is never considered to be 100% effective at protection, and hey, do you really want to bet on it working, and have it fail, when you could have possibly prevented that problem by a bit of first aide? After you clean the wounds, try to get to your vet as soon as you can for a booster for the rabies vaccine, and for them to check the wounds.
My choice for wound cleaning was Iodine (because alcohol at the concentration it would need would STING horribly and I’d get bitten and deserve it), so I got the Betadine iodine stuff out, and a medium side syringe (the internet suggested using one with a needle if you needed to blast into gaps in a wound but Kyles were less than deep, as far as I could see), and slurped up a bunch of iodine from the cup I’d poured some into, and wrapped the end of the syringe (no needle, I didn’t need to poke into crevices or jab Kyle because there was nobody to hold him still) wrapped the end in one of those disposable shop towels so I could sort of squirt it out, make the towel soppy, and dab it/wipe it on. Kyle wasn’t sure of some of this idea, but I managed to …really soak the areas that looked like there were cuts, nicks, or pokes. Then I called that emergency vet to see if the nurse/phone person on duty would help me make some decisions… her advice was since the dogs were vaccinated, and the wounds looked minor, I should get them a booster vaccine as soon as I could, but I probably didn’t need drive to the ER right away.
So I washed my hands and sanitized again, and then went clothed to bed and kept the dogs from licking or rubbing against me, set my alarm for about 1 hour later (because it took about an hour to get back to bed, as I had to check the yard for the coon…hoping it was dead, dreading an angry injured coon, and settling for it has disappeared). After the alarm went off, letting me know it had been at least 2 hours since the potential coon slobber was on the dogs, I then shucked the long clothing for less hot p.js, and tried to sleep.
I spent most of the next day at work trying to line up an appointment for the booster shot when I wasn’t at work but any vet in the area was open… I finally did, for the next evening (and was seriously relieved, and was less jangly afterwards).
Here are the next set of pictures, from the 13th. It’s Kyle’s ear and face, showing what the actual damage was, and remember there was a lot of iodine applied to the cuts. Also included is a picture of fur tufts where some of the scuffle took place… Both dogs have been shedding like nuts for a while, so I’m not sure if it is from one of the dog’s undercoats, or the coon. I didn’t really get too close to it.
So, on the 14, the dogs got their boosters at a vet who stays open into the evening, (clock out from work, drive home, stuff dogs in car, drive to vet, miss last turn because of sudden torrential downpour, spend the time I planned to walk the dogs before the appointment in the van with the dogs keeping them from freaking out because of the thunder). The vet clipped Kyle’s ear so they could double check the magnitude of the damage, which looked minor, and found it looked pretty good. While they had Kyle in the back clipping and checking the ear, Ralf and I waited in the little exam room, with the door left open to the back area. This meant that I could hear them telling Kyle what a brave dog he was, and how good he was being occasionally… and at one point, luckily in a voice that sounded a bit joking or light-hearted, I heard someone say something like “Gosh, you’re lucky you’ve still got an ear little guy!”… so when they brought him back in later on, I did say something like, “I heard someone say something about him being lucky to have his ear… I’m hoping they were joking around… and that I didn’t miss a huge gouging hole” and they said something like, “No, no, his ear looks great, you did a great job cleaning it… “yada yada. I’m assuming the comment was more on the basis of if a really scared and angry racoon gets your ear in its mouth, it’s going to try to remove as much of it as it can, so Kyle was lucky it didn’t do a good job of it.
They did say that it looked very good, and this was probably in part due to the well done iodining I had given the cuts… so they weren’t like all gross and infected (not the actual vet’s words…). They gave Kyle a short course of antibiotics and some pain meds just in case, and we went home…. and unfortunately, Kyle and I spotted the coon up near the old camper later in the night, and had a staring contest with it… (and a flashing the really bright flashlight into the buggers eyes in an attempt to give it the GO AWAY message…). It was peeking around the side of the tree trunk it was up (about 5 feet up), and eventually it turned and crawled head first down, and then disappeared into the foliage. Sigh… I had hoped it had crawled into the woods and quickly (and with dignity and little suffering) died…poo.
Here are some pictures from the 15th, on a happier note. I took Kyle for a jog today before the evening thunderstorms rolled through, and we saw a decent sized Black Snake (also called the Rat Snake, or Black Rat Snake… and I’m not going to bother with the scientific name because it seems to be up in the air currently, as well). Whatever, it’s not venomous, and it’s really pretty… I think the crinkly body posture is typical of the species. This is one of the top three commonly spotted species for me in this area, it’s Garter Snakes, Brown Snakes, and Black Rat Snakes, usually. Also some pictures from the “get wet” spot near our turn around, as you can see, the water levels are a lot lower than they have been, and we were able to get across the small side stream to get a different view. Also, there’s that water filled tube holding the internet together…still.
Lastly, a video of the snake, then of the water, and finally, of a juvenile American Robin. The snake video is about 2 minutes long, I think so if you have a slow internet, you might take a while or skip it… but it’s kind of interesting to me that at one point the snake actually is sort of hiding behind and following my foot. Nobody got hurt, no worries there. I like snakes, so sorry folks, I take pictures and videos. Hope you like them, too. And I’m guessing the snake had just shed, as it was almost opalescent.
Here are a few videos of the stream bed, all sparkly and shiny in the sunlight, and sounding all nice and soothing.
And lastly, the young robin, who isn’t quite the greatest flyer yet.
And, as always, thanks for reading/watching/looking! Thanks for your visit, I hope you enjoyed your time here! Oh, and wish the coon and I luck: it never comes back, nor do it’s extended relatives or friends… Or wish me luck… it gets hit by a car and dies suddenly and so quickly it feels no pain while the car is undamaged and the driver doesn’t care… I really don’t want to have to live trap it only to shoot it afterwards ’cause you can’t move coons in PA…sigh.
Excellent article! We are linking to this particularly great article on our website. Keep up the good writing.
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Aw, this was a really nice post. Finding the time and actual effort to produce a great article… but what can I say… I put things off a whole lot and never manage to get nearly anything done.
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