Still asleep, I heard a clattering noise. Once I had awakened sufficiently to speak, I said “What are you doing, Draconis?” who replied that he wasn’t doing anything. We then located the source of the noise–it was coming from the window well. Draconis got a flashlight and shone it through the window; an animal had fallen into the well. “I think it’s a dog.” Cats were also mentioned, though I was secretly hoping for a fox.
Not wanting to leave the poor creature scrabbling at the window all night (which would render us quite unable to sleep, in any case), we got up and donned boots and coats for the winter night. I advanced first and was startled to shine my light not upon a dog but a raccoon–I immediately stepped backwards out of its sight, as if that alone would protect me. I was both relieved and disgusted–relieved because the animal sufferer was not, in fact, a dog (who would require looking after) and disgusted because I hate raccoons. I consider them to fall firmly under the heading of ‘pest animal’ and they can give one rabies, to boot.
We began debating the necessary next step. Should we wait for the morning, and call animal control? Could the raccoon be assisted out immediately, giving us peace and quiet? We looked for a plank to help it out–there was no plank, and the only other wood was two spindly dowels which would never support the weight of a raccoon. After considering and dismissing mops and brooms, Draconis decided to try lowering a tall stepladder into the well. Before he even had a chance to brace it against the ground, the raccoon had clambered up and away, dashing across the lawn to find cover under Sven the tree.
Relieved that no one had been hurt or bitten, we returned to bed. May the coming year bring you fewer raccoons than it has us.