Barks in the Night

1:30 a.m. Deep sleep for the first time in a week. Barking. Barking. Barking. As I gradually swim back to consciousness, I realize this is not just making-noise barking. There’s something out in the yard. Fresh from our recent bear sighting, I peel myself off the sheets and hurry barefoot to the door.
I can’t see Annie, but I hear her doing her fiercest I’m-going-to-kill-you bark. Oh, Lord.
It’s dark, clouds obscuring any moon or stars. I can’t see anything, but Annie is under the table at the west end of the deck. Between barks, I hear something else, something growling. “Annie,” I say, “we’re not alone out here.” Bark.
I run back in to get the big flashlight and shine it around. Finally, I see something moving through the deck railing. I grab Annie and drag her into the house, then come back out to take a closer look. A raccoon stares at me, its eyes shining in the flashlight. It appears to be caught between the deck and the chain link fence of the dog pen. These days, weeds and berries have grown so thick that nothing can move in there. If it can’t get out on its own, I don’t know what to do.
I go back in, telling Annie to sleep on the sofa where she dozes most of the time. But no, she wants to share my bed. It’s like having an elephant in the bed, a panting, stinky-breathed, sharp-clawed elephant who wants to lie on top of you with its feet in your face. Pretty soon I kick her out and take another look in the backyard.
My flashlight catches the raccoon hanging off the fence, its feet clinging to the chain link, its head facing downward. Swell. I go back to bed, ordering the dog to sleep on the couch, shutting my door so I can go peacefully back to dreamland. I hear Annie pacing outside my door and decide to ignore her until daylight.
My dreams are a blend of raccoons in the yard and The Bachelorette TV show for which I just watched the three-hour finale. She chose J.P., broke Ben’s heart, walked hand in hand into the sunset.
6:30 a.m. Daylight. Cloudy and still. Annie is waiting at the door. No way am I keeping her in now. We both hurry to where we last saw the raccoon.
It’s gone. Whew. Nothing but weeds in there. Annie sniffs at the fence and deck, then jumps down to the grass and sniffs the whole yard while I go back to bed and try to sleep. No go.I’m awake.
Time for orange juice for me and Kibbles and Bits for the dog. As she does her breakfast dance, I see that she has two shallow scratches on her nose. We didn’t imagine it; the raccoon was here. For both our sakes, I hope it doesn’t come back.
Thank God it wasn’t the bear.
More Oregon adventures can be found in Shoes Full of Sand, my new book, available in paperback and ebook form. Click here for details.

Author: Sue Fagalde Lick

writer/musician California native, Oregon resident Author of Freelancing for Newspapers, Shoes Full of Sand, Azorean Dreams, Stories Grandma Never Told, Childless by Marriage, and Up Beaver Creek. Most recently, I have published two poetry chapbooks, Gravel Road Ahead and The Widow at the Piano: Confessions of a Distracted Catholic. I have published hundreds of articles, plus essays, fiction and poetry. I'm also pretty good at singing and playing guitar and piano.

4 thoughts on “Barks in the Night”

  1. Sue, having a raccoon caught by your fence is better than having them come all the way into your house as I did — all three of them (Daddy, Mama and Baby)!!! Scared the holy bejeebers out of me until I got them out!!


  2. Jean, I'd be petrified. How did you get them out? My dog would go after them, but then she'd get hurt. My old dog and I had a confrontation once with a raccoon that left us both covered in blood. They're so cute but so dangerous.


  3. Loved this Sue! I must say I found myself not only concerned for Sadie, but for you as well. I'm not sure I would have gone outside with a flashlight had I been in your situation.

    I laughed at the mention of the Bachelorette! I wouldn't have pegged you for a fan of that show. I must admit, though, that I didn't need you to tell me about that final episode (or any of the previous episodes).

    Thanks for sharing your life's stories!


  4. I might not have gone out with my flashlight if I'd know anything live was out there, but I didn't know until I got up close and heard growling. Anyway, I had to rescue my dog. Anything for the pooch. And yes, I'm hooked on the Bachelorette. Pure mind candy.


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