Outdoors Column: Poor Decisions

I can only imagine Jag was in his usual place in his chair on the porch when it all started. It is actually my chair, but if I am not sitting in it, he is usually watching his domain from there. It was sometime around 3 A. M. the ruckus started. Somewhere in my sleep clouded mind, I could hear Jag and something else fighting. By the time I became conscious enough to know what was going on, my wife was up and out the door with a flashlight. When she got outside, all was quiet. She could not find Jag or anything else that may have been causing the disturbance. She came back to bed and it started all over again. Since she seemed anxious to deal with the situation, I fell back to sleep. She again could not figure out what was happening. On returning to bed, she explained to me what was going on. Since the house was not on fire, I grunted my approval without being fully awake and ignored the whole thing.


The next morning, my wife explained what had gone on and how it was my job to get up during a crisis. I could not see the point of both of us losing sleep over it if she had it handled. We agreed to disagree on that point as I went outside to see if I could figure out what had gone on. Jag was in his usual place, in my chair, looking rather proud of himself. He had a scratch on his nose and one ear had been bleeding. He carries his scars like a badge of honor. “You should see the other guy” is what he was implying. One of the blocks under the ramp to the porch was out of place and I could see where Jag had been digging. I checked around and seeing nothing else amiss, I replaced the dirt and block, thinking no more about it.


A couple of days later, my wife complained of something smelling really bad around the porch. I could smell something but could not pin-point the source. After an extremely warm day, I was finally able to track down the odor. It was coming from under the ramp to the porch. It was a strong stench of death, not to be ignored in hopes it would go away. I took down part of the decorative blocks and with a flashlight, I could see the very ripe remains of a raccoon. Jag had won the battle and left his trophy behind to age. It had aged to the point it was barely recognizable as a raccoon.


Much to Jag’s displeasure, I scooped up the remains and disposed of it as quickly as possible. I am sure Jag wanted to roll in it. For some reason, dogs love to roll on dead things. It seems to be their favorite cologne.


Looking back over what had happened, I am glad my wife did not figure out where the fight was during the middle of the night. The dog and raccoon were in a confined space, both determined to kill the other. Reaching in to break them up would have resulted in certain injury. Either animal could have and would have struck out at anything that touched them. Jag was lucky to escape with only minor injuries. The raccoon was not so fortunate.


I am not sure why a raccoon would attempt to come onto the porch, but it was a poor decision, one that he will not make again.