8:45 a.m. Sunday morning:
Violet hollers upstairs: “Jesse! Come here! Guess who’s finally back!” I knew. I ran.
It was my guy, our raccoon, Marcus. I hadn’t seen him in a week and had started to worry. But there he was, on our pouch just sitting there, kickin’ it like a lazy cat, scratching himself and licking our compost container clean when Violet noticed he was hurt – really hurt. I didn’t actually see it because she warned me not to look. But from what she said his tail was pretty much no more. Yuck and Ouch.
He’s a big ol’ guy, fat and cute as all get out. I’ve gotten use to seeing him every day or so around dusk. Last weekend he was limping a little but still managed to strut through our open back yard in plain day, like he was our little dog, like he does, and toughed out whatever was ailing him to climb our tree to the tippy top.
Yesterday I watched him from a distance, as our back door is all glass, as he sat there scratching and biting at his ex-tail. My heart fell.
I got on the phone to get him some help. After calling several wild animal institutions, shelters, vets and emergency clinics it turns out that Marcus totally fucked up by getting hurt on a sunday… and with no insurance to boot.
At one point I talked an emergency wildlife clinic, three counties away, into coming to help us by offering to pay for the animal ambulance. (I am well aware of the fact that this could all sound ridiculous. None the less, Marcus is my raccoon and damn if it doesn’t take a village). As soon as I hung up the phone, having finally convinced this woman to get someone to drive for an hour and a half to pick up a pissed off, bleeding raccoon, Marcus just stood up and wandered off. I didn’t follow. I could tell he was in no mood.
Violet made a few more calls to see if we could find anyone to come and help us with this guy. One of the several underfunded nonprofit animal rescue places in Seattle said they would help Marcus if and when we caught him ourselves and brought him to them, “like, with a cardboard box or something”. White tall femme!?! Are you kidding me?!? He is hurt and pissed and scared… and a raccoon!
Several phone calls later we finally got a competent, knows-everything-about-raccoons woman on the phone from the fish and wildlife department who said that he probably had distemper, which can cause sores, and that raccoons were pretty remarkable at dramatic recoveries. She said it might look really bad but that he could fully recover.
So, that’s what i told myself all day as i paced around, peering out our windows, waiting for him to reappear, and that’s what i told myself before i went to bed… that, and that sometimes all you can do is throw your hands up because even the simplest of relationships get really hard sometimes. But so long as Marcus is in our trees I got his back. And I’m sure if his tennis-ball sized brain completed thoughts like that he’d say the same.