Well, at least it wasn't the chickens this time.
This morning Ayn Chee and Tashi didn't want to come in from their morning run. It was obvious that they had some sort of critter cornered. Ayn Chee, being the wussiest of the two dogs, finally came in. Tashi, on the other hand, barked and barked and barked AND BARKED! I finally got her in through a door into my family room on the lower level. I didn't see anything, but she had been barking towards the enclosed pen they use to do their business when I am not home. It has an electronic door that opens only for the four pets who wear small magnets on their collars to activate it. Thank goodness it isn't just a flap door! I stuck my head out into the pen and there was a huge raccoon cowering in the corner. He (or she as the case may be) hissed at me. I slammed the door shut and went upstairs to find a number for animal control. There is no way out of that pen except through the dog door and the human door, into my store room and then on into the soap workshop and family room.
I went outside to check on the raccoon and saw that it had disappeared. I assumed that once there were no longer two dogs on the other side of the fence, it felt safe enough to be on its way.
A few hours later, my cat was growling, a low and continuous growl, and her back was arched, hackles up - the perfect stereotype of the Hallowe'en cat, except that she is white, not black. When I looked out the sliding glass door onto my screen porch off the living room, there was the raccoon. He must have continued climbing up as he got out of the dog pen - up and onto the second story porch, which is directly over the pen. I was sure this was simply a matter of guiding the animal over to the hole he used to get in. Nope, didn't work. He kept running into the other two screened corners, climbing up the facing around the screens. I was using the broom to swat him back down and send him on the proper escape route, but time and again, he ran on the diagonal, totally avoiding the corner with the broken screening. This screen was at floor level and would have provided easy egress. But no, back and forth he went, with me and the broom chasing him.
I know I shouldn't have, but I finally got heavy gloves and folded a sheet and a blanket into four thicknesses. Now I tried to capture him with the blanket. Again, I was on the merry-go-round, clockwise around the table, blanket in hand, then back around the table counter-clockwise, with an occasional side trip into one of the two corners that DIDN'T have a hole in the screening. I could see he was wearing down, not running as fast, and when he got to the corners he was climbing slower. Finally, I got the blanket over him AND his head. I wrapped him tight, but not tight enough to keep his head from popping out. He bit at the blanket, but I was well protected. I took him to the spot with the broken screen and sent him on his way. He half climbed, half fell down the side of the house, and then loped off towards the creek and the woods.
I am still shaking. I found blood on the sheet, and I'm sorry that I hurt him. I also know that I took a chance with a wild animal. I should have called animal control, but I just wanted him OUT OF HERE! Part of what shook me up was the way he looked at me when he was cornered - his big, soulful eyes drilling directly into mine. While I chased and panted, I kept saying, "You are so beautiful!"
I hope he does not come back. I don't think he will, since now he knows a crazy woman lives here.