Sleeping peacefully in our bed last night, a familiar soft groaning sound let me know that Charlie had a call of nature. Old dogs and old people share the same propensity for frequent toilet visitation. In his early years, a 10 pm visit would see him through the night, but of late the call of the wild comes in the wee small hours.

Never quite trusting that he hurries about his business, I monitor him at the open door. Last night he stood alertly on the back step sniffing the air, rear legs shaking in some sort of paroxysm of anticipation.

silently a few figs dropped from the tree beside the back door and he was off in a blur of white, on the trail of a creature equally as large as himself. So as not to alarm any neighbors at the midnight hour, I flailed around behind him as he raced the fence line, intermittently trying to climb the fence; {Charlie, not me} There is absolutely no way to get through to a dog’s brain when he is hot on the trail, and no amount of the offering of treats, or threats of punishment filter into it. We finally made it back into the house after a half hour of exercise.

A very large black shape settled itself atop a shed and smirked at the scene being played out beneath him. He was aware that there were plenty of figs left on the tree after the action on the ground stopped, to which he would soon return.

As a teenage girl someone gave me a cute stuffed raccoon which I took to bed with me each night. I loved that raccoon and even named it, though I don’t recall what the name was. No one was brave enough to tell me I was too old for stuffed animals, but when I went on my honeymoon at 18, my beloved raccoon did not make the trip with me. I have always blamed my mother for packing my traveling bag.

Author: kaytisweetlandrasmussen83

I am a retired fine arts teacher, sculptor/painter, writer, and a native Californian. I love my family,dogs, horses, movies, reading and music, probably in that order. I have been married forever to a very nice man who is nice to old ladies, dogs and children.

18 thoughts on “MIDNIGHT INVADER”

  1. I have raccoon stories galore, including one about an Austin couple who learned never to invite a raccoon into your home on a regular basis, and then leave town without telling him he’s to stay out while you’re gone.

    They’re clever, and calculating, and as cute as a button. I have a Beanie baby raccoon that I keep telling myself I should get rid of, but I just can’t. It was given to me after the raccoon boarded the boat and stole every single Pepperidge Farm cookie. The next night, when he gave it another try, there was a memorable chase down the shoreline, with me playing the role of Charlie. I have no idea why I chased that raccoon, or what I would have done if he’d stopped.


    1. Our attachment for stuffed animals is bewildering. Cheri once gave me the softest blue “thing” when I was in hospital. We never figured if it was a dog or whatever. At any rate, I wouldn’t think of getting rid of him.

      Raccoons certainly are clever. A frustrated friend relocated several, only to find they had returned to his garden in a week or so. He recognized one because of a tear in his ear. Another friend found his new lawn neatly rolled up each morning, so he installed lights which went on and off and a radio which blasted noise every few minutes. They still came to do their darndest.


  2. Here, they are the possums. During mating time it sends our Jack Russell “Milo” into a frenzy, not least because he has been castrated, and none of the possums are. He somehow knows what they are up to and resents it bitterly.
    He does his best to disturb their dalliances by barking and staring them out of the trees.
    It is not easy to have a JRT during possum mating times.


    1. As you well know, it is never easy to have a JRT. No critter is safe from their attention including nesting birds, although to my knowledge Charlie has only killed one rat in his life, and that when he was very young. In spite of being bred to kill rats, I think he was so shocked that he did it that he only gives them a warning now. It would be nice to think that he was clearing them out.


  3. My parents bought me a stuffed black miniature poodle when they gave away our real black miniature poodlel..Pepe Le Pew..What a spiteful little cur he turned out to be. Tore the curtains down and left his calling cards in the corners. Still, I clung to my stuffed animal. To this day, I have stuffed animals on my bed. Now we sleep with a baby cheetah and baby lion. I should say, I sleep with them.

    Glad Charlie didn’t make it over the fence (and you, too!)
    Great post.


      1. Amazing that you remember that dog. He lived for a short while at the Mayfield home. You are amazing for taking on a JRT. Give me a docile Labrador


  4. I would love to see a raccoon in the wild! A terrier will always be a terror πŸ™‚ full of character and a good hunter. Shame they can’t do it in the daylight hours though! Hope you got back off to sleep easily enough. πŸ™‚


  5. One of the ‘problems’ of living where I do – half an hour’s drive from the nearest internet that usually doesn’t work – is that I load the pages and then read them offline that night back at the house. I SO enjoyed this post and commented in my mind – but never shared my thoughts w/you when I was back online! What a great story, and of course, if the ‘invader’ is a precious raccoon, then we usually smile and allow it to alter our plans, even if the figs were destined for preserves!
    Years ago in Costa Rica, a high-pitched squeaking noise summoned me outside. With maglight in hand, I spotted the strangest creature in the guava tree — big round yellow eyes, caramel coat, long tail like a monkey – what in the world? Consulting a book I discovered its name, kinkajou! The kinkajous are in the area where I now live, according to the owner of the property here in Ecuador….


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