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Raccoon Rehabilitator:
the conversation we want to have...

by Dee Walmsley


"Well now, isn't he just about the cutest thing you ever saw. What kind of dog is it?"

"It's not a dog at all, it's a three week old raccoon kit" I muttered.

"Oh my!" she exclaimed jumping back two feet. "They kill cats, and dogs, and dig up your garden, and wreck you roof and, why would you want to have one of those horrible animals?"

"What the heck are you talking about? This kit doesn't even have its eyes open so I hardly think that it's going to kill your dear dog! Where did you get your dumb ideas from anyway?"  

"Everyone knows they are pest animals, just look in the yellow pages for god's sake! My neighbor has those beasts in her yard and she is afraid to let her kids outside. There ought to be a law against them living in the city." 

"Okay, we'll make a law, yeah let's have a referendum and make all the urban wildlife move to the country, then we can make another one to make all the people move to the city. Then we can put up a big brick wall around the city so the only thing that is going to attack you is another human being. Would that satisfy you?" It was a sarcastic answer but I just couldn't help myself.

"You're nuts, who would vote on something like that? Really, you do-gooders get on my nerves. I suppose you hug trees on week-ends too eh?" she asked.

"No, I don't have time to hug my old man, let alone trees, because of ignorant people like you who think that it is your god-given right to rule the world. Who says we own it all? Did you ever stop to think that maybe we won't be the last species to leave this earth?

"I don't understand you when you get like this, all uppity and hot under the collar just because I don't like raccoons," she fumed.

"Do you have any idea how ignorant you are? It's not just the raccoons, it's all the animals that I see at the rehab center that have been tortured, orphaned, and abused and mostly by people like you who think that because it wears fur, it will eat you. You never take the time to learn anything about the creatures. You believe old wives tales and rumor. Have you ever stopped to think that you invaded the animals' space by building your 4000 square foot house? Why, I bet you don't even know what happened to the trees they removed from your lot." By now I was sounding preachy but she just didn't understand.

"See, I knew you were a tree hugger, you can't fool me. You think I'm stupid but I know things too, ya know." It was a defensive comeback but it was all the ammo she had, change the subject and resort to name calling, always a reliable tactic for the environmentally challenged.

"I hug the universe. When was the last time you hugged anything? Those trees housed birds and critters and those trees are the earths lungs, without them you don't breathe."

"What, now you're telling me my lungs are in the trees? You need help, my friend, and the sooner the better," she said, smugly.

"Well if help means visiting your shrink, then count me out, speaking of which, isn't it time for your next appointment?"

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