My Pet Family
I was cleaning house several weeks ago. It is something that I don’t enjoy doing, but I do enjoy a neat house. I had worked my way into my bedroom and was dusting shelves before vacuuming when Ginger came in, jumped on the bed, and sat there as a canine queen.
While sitting like some regal queen, she looked around the room to see what interested her. It was a few nanoseconds before she started questioning me. “What are all the photos of you and that racoon?”
I told Ginger that years ago, I lived atop a mountain, which was surrounded by trees. In the woods behind my house, there was a large ravine where dozens of raccoons lived. I would take leftovers out to my deck and leave food there for the raccoons. It would take five minutes before a dozen or more raccoons would come up for treats on my deck.
Ginger asked, “Why did you feed them?
My only reply was that I enjoyed watching wild animals benefit from venturing to my deck. Then I added that all the raccoons liked treats from me. Whether it was leftover pizza or Thanksgiving turkey, the raccoons seemed to like my cooking.
Then Ginger got involved with one raccoon in particular, which began quasi-domesticated.
I explained that raccoon was named by Ayanna who was a toddler back then. Today, she is beginning her master’s degree. Two decades ago, she named one of the raccoons, Ra Ra. Ra Ra was a young female. Interestingly, I taught Ra Ra to come up to the deck by calling her name.
Ginger’s retort sounded like she didn’t believe me. “You call me a long list of names: Ginger, Ging, Gingie, Ginger Pooh, Pooh, and Pooh Dog. Nonetheless, a raccoon was smart enough to respond to you?”
I tried to quell Ginger’s anxiety by saying that Ra Ra only responded to me calling her when I offered her leftovers. I thought it best not to mention that Ginger responds immediately when a treat is mentioned also. Often, when she isn’t being bribed, it will take a few seconds before she responds.
Then Ginger noticed several photos of Ra Ra taking food from my mouth. That fascinated Ginger. I told her about offering food to her by extending my hand so that she could take it from my hand. One time, I didn’t let go of the piece of pizza.
Ginger quipped, “What was her response?”
I told Ginger that Ra Ra took one of her front paws and gently tapped my hand so that I would allow her to have her treat. A couple days later, I put the pizza between my teeth, and Ra Ra came up and took it from my mouth. I did that many times with Ra Ra. Never did she attack or hurt me. It seemed that she understood that I cared for her needs. Therefore, she didn’t have to act aggressively.
“I understand the same thing that Ra Ra did. You provide a place for me to live and food to eat. We go for walks and play games in the house and the backyard. Animals seem to understand people...especially those who they can trust. Did you want Ra Ra for a pet?”
I told Ginger that I was into Irish Setters. Besides, I’m not sure that she would want to live inside my home. Interestingly, our relationship with Ra Ra lasted all summer and into the fall. Raccoons don’t hibernate, but I didn’t see much of them during the winter months. However, when the following spring arrived, the raccoon returned to my deck for food. The first time that I went out with some food, they all scattered. I called out, “Ra Ra.” One of the raccoons stopped as if she had recalled the previous summer and me. However, after pausing for a moment, she ran off.
“That was a nice story, but let’s go for a long walk around the lake. If you bring a treat for me, I’ll take it from your mouth before we circumnavigate the lake.”
Visit the Thus Spoke Ginger page to read more about this topic.