Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Gardening Naked at 3 a.m. - Part Deux

Regarding the title: Gardening Naked at 3 a.m. was the title of what was to be my very first post here. I even pondered naming the blog after it. In the end, I decided I didn't know enough about my potential audience to post that. I have the post somewhere and will try and post it soon.

WARNING: Exceptionally violent and graphic post. NOT for squeamish animal lovers.

I really think I should not be allowed out in public for several reasons: I work alone and when I do go out, I come home so stimulated from having had actual conversation with a human, I find it impossible to simply get in bed and go to sleep.

Saturday night was my second evening in a row out. And for the second night in a row, I found myself wide awake a good two hours after getting home. At 1 a.m., I forced myself to go to bed. No sooner had my head hit the pillow when two raccoons started screaming in the back yard. As usual, I stayed completely still and tried to ignore it. But Mabel wasn't buying it. She was climbing on my headboard trying to poke her head through my curtains and blinds. Realizing my approach wasn't working, I got up and opened the back door.

It never occurred to me the coons were in the yard... they're usually in the trees or along the fence or under the deck.

Mabel made a bee-line to them. I popped in the back door to turn on the light and ran back onto the porch in time to see the most frightening sight. Mabel had a coon about half her size wrapped around her head!!! Literally, the things hind legs were on Mabel's shoulders, wrapped up and around her head with front paws on Mabel's ears.And there was a smaller raccoon racing toward them... they were going to double team my girl! I let out a scream that eventually made every neighbor across the canal turn on their lights.

I raced to the sprinkler controls knowing water would put a damper on the fight. I turned on the first one...nothing...the second one...what the hell is wrong with the sprinklers??? There's no water!!! I turned on the hose and ran toward the fight. [The sprinklers haven't been turned on since October so there was no water in the pipes.]

I turned the hose on the little guy and shooed him up the mulberry tree to safety with the water. I found myself soaked to the core on a 40 degree night as the sprinklers finally come on. Mabel and the big one had let go of each other and Mabel appeared to be getting the upper hand as she got him pinned between the mini pine and the pool pump.

I turned the hose on Mabel and she backed off toward the pool. The coon started running. Later, I would trace his blood trail and see where he tried desperately to go to right around the pool but realized Mabel was there. He wisely chose the pool. He quickly swam to the far side of the jacuzzi where there is a step. Mabel was standing over him.

At this point, my next door neighbor had popped up over my fence with a huge flashlight. She shone it on Mabel and the sight made me scream! Mabel's head and forelegs were covered in blood. And she had about a foot long stream of blood coming from both sides of her mouth!

I was suddenly aware of being wet and cold and being in my sock feet...I do good to walk with shoes. Without is a big no-no. My neighbor sent her grown son over, so I unlocked the gate and went racing in the house, stripping off wet pajamas, socks and underwear. Along the way, I grabbed a phone and called my hiking buddy, unlocked the front doors and found dry clothes and shoes.

When I ran back outside, neighbor's son was frantically looking for my hose. I unspooled more and turned the water on full blast. He used it to get Mabel to back away from the coon. But she came right back.

I ran over, chased her around a bit and finally caught her. The second I grabbed her, the coon climbed out of the pool and ran by, inches from us, and under the deck. It took every ounce of my strength to hold Mabel back and I finally let her go when I knew the coon was safely under the deck.

My hiking buddy had arrived and I ran to her and just bawled. The neighbors cornered Mabel and shined their flashlights over her. The man called out the injuries he saw: "She's got a torn ear, cuts on her face and lips and both legs are cut up."

My mind was racing. L.A. is a big place but it's not so great for 24 hour animal care. The closest vet I knew of was at least 20 minutes away. My hiking buddy knew of one a little closer. We decide to bring Mabel inside and clean her up first.

The girl raced inside and drank a ton of water. I was crying, watching blood drip on the floor, knowing my girl was hurt. We soaked kitchen towels in water and started to assess the damage. Her ear was not torn. There were no cuts on her face. There were none on her legs. Only one tiny cut on her lower lip. All that blood, towels full of it, belonged to the raccoon.

Blood on the stone flower bed border and mini pine tree.


The coon survived enough to climb out from under the deck. Mabel was just proud of herself for being the badass dog of south Sunland. I am just shell-shocked. Since that morning, my neighbors have told me of a raccoon that took on three dogs and killed them all. My own sister has told me of a raccoon that drowned a dog. I know I will never simply open my back door without looking around and making sure it’s safe for my dog to go into her own backyard


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7 comments:

ordinaryjanet said...

Good God. Mabel was very lucky. Did you take her to the vet anyway? get the lip stitched? booster rabies shot? I wonder if the raccoon turned up dead. Have they avoided your yard since?

CreekHiker said...

Janet, she was so lucky indeed. I can't tell you how frightened I was! We did not go to the vet... I only found the cut on her lip Sunday night. It didn't need stitches... it's barely a scratch. She's up to date on rabies.

The coon was under the deck around 2 am. My hiking friend and I heard it. But was gone by daylight. Mabel would not come in the house if it were still there.

I'm hoping there's enough blood and adrenaline out there to keep them away for a while!

Becky said...

We sure do love our Mabel stories but this one scared us. Miss you and give Mabel a big sloppy kiss from your South Korean friends!

Velvet Sacks said...

Oh.My.God! My adrenaline is pumping just from reading this. You must have been scared half to death. I'm glad Mabel's okay and hope the raccoon put up enough of a fight to give Mabel second thoughts next time.

CreekHiker said...

Becky, You know Miss Mabel loves you...but she loves hubby more!

Velvet, Mabel was PROUD of herself! I can't tell you how she was beaming! She ran to my hiking buddy and sat down and held her head so high and smiled!

I cannot stand that she gets positive reinforcement from this. I think it must be the greyhound in her!

Adam said...

Maybe you should teach Mabel to know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. Know when to walk away and know when to run. She could take a lesson from my Tess.
Tess always knows what she can and cannot have.

CreekHiker said...

Adam!!! Oh MY GOD!!! I would never think to get the camera when Mabel had a poor defenseless creature in her mouth!!!!

Now, PLEASE tell me how you inserted a link in the comments... every time I've tried that on blogger, I get a weird error message.