"Did you see the raccoon???!" My neighbor creeps back from the roof top porch we have, eyes sparkling.
"No, but I heard Karen mention she saw one yesterday and it ate a piece of bread she gave it," I mention walking Orion more quickly by the roof top.
"Yeah and we just gave it a slice of pizza," my other neighbor chimed in.
Somehow in the back of my head the age old, "Don't feed the animals," is running through my head though I can appreciate the excitement of seeing wild animals up close. We move on to our evening walk.
"Hey Moll, the raccoon was back last night and I noticed it has a hurt foot. I feel so bad," neighbor one mentions as I walk up from my morning walk.
"Well you could probably call pet rescue centers around here and they might have some ideas. Or look up if there are any antibiotics that they can have."
"Yeah I just feel so bad. I gave it another piece of bread because it came back."
I see my neighbors out cleaning the porch. Beach wafts my way.
"We read up on the raccoons and their poop can have all kinds of diseases in it and we didn't want the cats being sick."
"I'm still feeling bad about the foot though. And the rescue folks said they don't take in hurt animals."
"What's the point of a rescue then?" I ask.
I'm thinking about the raccoon myself as I'm walking by the porch. Yes, it's coming back because it's getting a free easy meal. On the one hand I'm still of the opinion that feeding him/her is a terrible idea because of creating this habit and because of their known rabies issues... and yet, too, I'm beginning to feel a little bad about the sore foot too. What if I threw him/her some bread too? Or the birds... "Leave nature to nature," my friend tells me when I explain the predicament my "neighborhood" is experiencing.
It's ten o'clock. I throw open the outside door as I always do, ready to round the corner to walk down and let Orion out. As the door is halfway through it's full swing Orion takes off at a full sprint. My mind flashes, "What the hell..." as I clamp down on the leash, he's going so quickly I'm not getting a grip, and I barely register a cat, then a raccoon running ahead of Orion down the porch. I reach with my free hand to try and 'grab' the leash, the ribbon long leash but quickly feel the burn on my index finger that comes with a fast moving ribbon over skin. "NO ORION!" I yell, as the raccoon makes it to the roof and Orion shoves his nose between the porch posts that block him from his could-have-been-new-best-friend. I start reeling him in, reminiscing on the trouble I always get myself into at night when I am lazy and think it's a good idea to use his retracting leash and prong color rather than his normal leash and harness... one broken arm, and now one burnt finger.
We decide to go in the front door and as I turn to return to my hallway I notice a bag of garbage outside the door. Of course the raccoon was at my end of the apartment complex. Orion snags the napkin and pizza crust that fell from the ripped bag and I drag him into the hallway to pry open his mouth and make him leave the napkin on the floor. The pizza crust long gone.
Out the front door we go, only to have locked ourselves out of the front entrance. We have to go past the raccoon hide out anyways. Sighing I create a death grip on his leash and drag him past. He is now out cold and I am now contemplating the error of our ways this past week with unrefutable clarity.