When Jeff, aka Raccoon Ranger, arrived, he was everything you would expect from someone who specializes in vermin removal and who has a farm for citified animal rehab out in the country. He was also delightful.
He explored the attic and seemed truly disappointed not to find anything.
Next, he went outside and scoured the outside of the house. I stayed inside with the dog, who was a bit agitated at having someone wandering around the yard.
After about ten minutes, Raccoon Ranger knocked excitedly at the door and beckoned me out back to check out “positive Raccoon Sign.”
He took me to the back landing and walked me through the clues like Poirot at a murder scene. But with a Southern twang.
“Well, you gotcher claw scratches on the lattice where he crawled up here, then he ambled on over and you gotcher paw prints on the siding, and the downspout is all bowed out where he shimmied on up, and raccoon belly tuft fur where he scooched out to the eaves, and then pop goes the – well, the raccoon – he was up and over onto your roof, and up into your attic.”
“That’s a very strange skill set you have there, Jeff.”
“Yes, ma’am. I’ll set up them traps.”
I’d been outside for all of four minutes. I went back inside – and found an abattoir. There was blood everywhere. There were literal pools of it standing on the ottoman. And there was no sign of either the dog or the cat.
The dog came limping in from the garage, whining, his right front paw a pulpy ruin.
I had no idea what had happened, but I did a quick search and found the cat asleep.
I tried to clean up the paw, but he wouldn’t let me. He snapped at me. I couldn’t even rinse it to see how bad the actual injury was, much less find the source of the bleeding.
I made a mistake here. I called my ex husband to ask for help. He got angry and yelled because he had patients and could not just leave them to come deal with my problems. I just hadn’t thought about what time it was. Sigh.
RR came to the front door and saw the mess and asked if I needed anything. Whatever look was on my face told him I did not require him as I reached for my wallet and tossed him my credit card.
While he processed payment for the initial traps, I wrapped Starbuck’s leg in a towel as best I could and ran out and tossed all 65 pounds of him in the car. I grabbed my stuff, checked the back, locked the door, pulled out of the driveway, rolled down the passenger window, caught the clipboard, signed the sheet, tossed back the clipboard, stowed the card in my shirt pocket, rolled up the window, and called my friend Carol – like a goddamned domestic ninja – to ask her to tell me I was a rock star. She didn’t skip a beat, then asked why. I told her. She told me I was an EGOT winner. She cautioned me not to wreck the car. Good advice.