So many urbanites are taken by surprise when they find our denatured environment is actually full of furry or feathered fauna beyond your average fox squirrel or rock pigeon. I’m a bit more accustomed to (and appreciative of) wildlife encounters, and in the case of the critter in our backyard this morning, the shock was all his (or hers).

And it was all my fault, starting when I failed to visually clear the backyard prior to letting Ranger out for her morning pee. Even when she bolted through the door my first thought was “squirrel!”

Times ten. In the form of a very healthy raccoon that in a panic at the sudden addition of our dog flung itself at the south side seven-foot-tall fence that it thankfully managed to successfully scale. I say “thankfully” because if there’d been a slip and a fall back the ground from that vertical climb, it might have fallen directly upon Ranger who stood beneath it during the last bit of its ascent. Woe be it to the dog that tangles with an angry raccoon, so say I, because nothing good shall come of it.

So say I instead: whew to the raccoon’s emergency evacuation skills.

Once atop the fence the raccoon wasted little time leaping across to the nearest tree branch in the neighbor’s yard, but misjudged the landing and instead thumped hard to the ground. Fearing an injury from the drop I was relieved to see it quickly recover and scramble high up into the treetop, where it then was forced to recover from its adrenaline rush while enduring me pointing my flashing camera at it through the branches from various vantage points until I was satisfied I’d gotten a suitable shot of the magnificent mammal in the early morning light:


Finally leaving it alone to move the trash cans to the street for today’s pick-up, I observed it scramble down the tree apparently unhindered by anything beyond any psychological wounds.

Again I say: whew.