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The Call of the Wild

I’ve never been accused of being an “outdoorsy” type of a gal. In fact, my dad used to joke that my idea of camping was a Holiday Inn. I like to get outside and exercise, I just prefer not to have the word “mud” in front of the word “run." God forbid I get dirty while I sweat. Don’t get me wrong, I would consider myself an animal lover with two rescue dogs, an albino guinea pig and the longest living goldfish on earth (maybe I’m exaggerating just a little bit, but seriously, the fish will not die!)

So when my husband and I got married 11+ years ago we settled in the suburbs, a perfect place to raise a family. Our house is situated in a quiet neighborhood filled with nice people and homes with good sized back yards, perfect for kids and dogs. And coyotes…and raccoons…and rabbits, possums, rats, snakes and lots of bees! 

We’ve enjoyed lots of unexpected animal adventures over the years. After dark, we are regularly serenaded by the sounds of coyotes howling on the hill behind our house. Swarms of bees have now inhabited our attic twice. The babysitter especially enjoyed almost stepping onto a baby rattlesnake resting on our front doormat as she left one afternoon. The rabbits that I once found to be “cute” have now officially killed our front and back lawns at least three times. Just last night, I shined a flashlight into the backyard as my two dogs barked ferociously and saw an extra pair of eyes glaring back at me as a not-too-happy raccoon was scaling our fence. Good times!

My favorite story of all is one that I couldn’t make up even if I tried. One morning as I was taking the dogs for their walk, I noticed that there was some dried dog poop on my front porch.  A little strange, but I didn’t think much of it at the time. The following morning, more poop in the same exact spot. After a week or so of this, I assumed that a disgruntled neighbor must be trying to give us a not-so-subtle message, thinking that we weren’t picking up after our dogs. Out of frustration, I placed a note on the porch that said, “Please stop putting dog poop on our front porch. We are good pet owners and clean up after our pets.” Wouldn’t you know, the next morning, there was poop right on top of the note. Okay…this was war.

We purchased a security camera with motion sensors to catch the culprit. Night after night, the sensors did not go off, but the poop still arrived. Finally, out of sheer frustration (and honestly a lot of freaking out!) we set the camera to run all night long. I was going to catch the Poop Bandit if it killed me! Sure enough, the next morning, after receiving yet another lovely porch package, I proceeded to watch the video frame by frame.  Nothing…nothing...WAIT!  What was that??? If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I would have never believed it. Out of our bushes dashed a rat that proceeded to deposit a petrified piece of poop right on our front porch.  That little…..

We set a trap later that night which he proceeded to outsmart for three days until finally, the Poop Bandit was kaput. It was with a bit of relief and just a touch of sadness that we bid him farewell.  You see, I’ve come to believe that he was actually leaving us presents to thank us for giving him such a nice, if not a little wild, place to live. Sigh


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