Life & Times of Rocky Raccoon
A TRUMAN ADVENTURE
somewhere in the black mountain hills of Dakota
There lived a young boy named Rocky Raccoon
And one day his woman ran off with another guy"
Jan, "come here NOW" Carol
said in a no-nonsense tone (I tend to dawdle) so I ran towards her voice.
"Truman is barking
@ an animal, he may have it cornered." (Shades of Pound Ridge
& Burton cornering a really frightened opossum with huge claws years
before entered both our consciousness.)
I looked out on the lawn, pitch black, and stupidly ran towards a decidedly
different bark. And in the dark I could sort of see Truman circling an
unfortunate raccoon, Truman just looking for an opening, barking, barking,
barking. (Thoughts of our herding
experience flooded my mind.)
"No, Truman" I yelled in my most authoritative tone. A
quick, dismissive glance from Truman was all I got for my effort. I
tried again. "Forget it", "Leave it" quickly
followed, also without result.
Now part of Truman's inattentiveness has to fall @ Rocky's feet because he
charged Truman a few times which only intensified Truman's resolve. We all
know by now that Truman doesn't back off. But the fact remains Truman
wasn't giving me much respect.
Poor Rocky now had a 2nd challenge -- me.
As I thought about herding sheep, I realized I was in the wrong
position. This raccoon was not about the follow me. Think of a circle
-- diameter about 4 feet -- Truman on one side, me on the other, Rocky in
the middle looking first @ Truman then @ me -- back & forth like
watching a tennis match. Could I apply what I learned @ the NAWBA
herding clinic to this situation? Probably not.
"Carol, get me a stick, mop or broom" I called out keeping one eye
on Rocky, the other on Truman, trying to call him off, Rocky charging &
retreating, looking first @ Truman then @ me -- back & forth.
I was frustrated, afraid for both Truman & Rocky Raccoon, angry,
impotent @ my lack of control over Truman while his testosterone flowed.
I tried moving around the invisible circle to be next to Truman thinking
that maybe we could both drive the raccoon off but the other participants
changed position so the net result remained the same -- me on one side,
Truman on the other, Rocky in the middle.
Carol arrived with a "spiffy" dust mop handle which I tried to
wield as a herding crook, trying to reach over Rocky, pointing it @ Truman,
attempting to get him to retreat, back off, lie down, anything. And,
although, I was making very slight progress with Truman, Rocky decided any
hesitation in Truman's attack provided a good opening to charge.
Finally, in desperation, I swung the mop handle in the direction of the
raccoon, thinking I could jump out of the way if he charged me, but like a
golfer who had just teed off, I instinctively looked down the green to see
where the ball was going & in that split second, Truman managed to get
into the circle and, out of the corner of my eye, I saw him carrying his
prey off by the scruff of the neck to another part of our 2+ acre lawn.
I raced after him, screaming "drop it" -- a command we
successfully use when fetching the newspaper or carrying groceries from the
car to the kitchen. To my surprise he did and poor Rocky lay there,
quivering slightly. Was he seriously injured, was he just scared stiff
as I had seen when Ruben brought us a live rabbit years before?
doctor came in stinking of gin
And proceeded to lie on the table
He said "Rocky you met your match"
And Rocky said, "Doc it's only a scratch
And I'll be better, I'll be better doc as soon as
I am able"
I kept Truman @ bay
& finally got him into the house. Then I went back out to check on
Rocky. As I stood there grazing @ his poor little body -- no signs of blood
-- he began to shake & then he was quiet. I left him where he lay.
"Now Rocky Raccoon he fell back in his room
Only to find Gideon's bible
Gideon checked out and he left it no doubt
To help with good Rocky's revival"
But that was not to be.
It was cold & rainy that night so I did nothing but, early the next
morning, with Rocky still lying in the same spot, I placed him in a plastic
bag & removed him from the scene -- stiff as a board. Then I let Truman
out but he seemed to have forgotten all about poor Rocky & went about
his normal routine of checking the fence lines for any sort of intruder.
I called Ridgefield's K9 officer to report the incident because I wanted to
know about rabies. He instructed me to pack Rocky on ice & said he would
courier him to the state capitol where an autopsy would be performed.
Until then, Truman was to be quarantined.
I hadn't noticed any strange behavior on the part of the raccoon & I
watched Truman like a hawk for signs of *anything* unusual. He seemed
fine but I wasn't about to take any chances. We cancelled our trip to the
BONE (Bouvier of North East) event that weekend & I kept Truman in sight
at all times. He ate normally. He drank normally. He eliminated
normally. He maintained his habits & attitude. He was alert
My concerns about over-vaccination
caused me some reflection. I titer Truman for most things &
vaccinate him against rabies every two years with a three year booster.
Was he still protected? I had heard about rabid raccoons but what else
could they carry? What kind of contact had there been in that split
second when Truman attacked, killed & carried off his prey? Then I
thought about Sabrina, Sam & finally Carol & myself.
Several days later, the K9 officer called to tell me that the raccoon had
tested negative for rabies. Whew.
Now I'm even more determined to gain control over Truman @ times of
"high energy". Herding, agility, Schutzhund, ring,
obedience? Don't know.
I hope the Beatles will forgive me.
JanRif, Truman & Sabrina