when i let the dogs out at night, i'm always careful to turn on the porch light and make lots of noise so that any malingering critters can GO THE HELL AWAY. it usually works pretty well, with the occasional exception of a slow moving bunny.
last night, though, the dogs cornered something along the fence. in the blackest, pitch dark corner of the yard. guess who forgot to pick up flashlight batteries when she was at the store last weekend? crap! so, i couldn't see what it was, but from the way it bounced against the fence, it seemed to be in the 20-30lb range. it hissed and growled. i've never heard anything like it before.
elliott had the good sense not to get too close, more from fear of getting his *** kicked by harriet than anything else. after the last time, he's no dummy! when she's in "must kill it" mode, only a truly stupid dog would want to get on her radar.
harriet's face got pretty scratched up, but there were no deep wounds and her eyes were fine (ever since elliott got poked in the eye by the cat, i've been paranoid about eye wounds). i cleaned her up with peroxide and checked her out very* thoroughly. she was tweaked by the encounter, but was only hurt superficially. she calmed down quickly and slept fine. i checked her several times throughout the night and gave her another good going over this morning. she seems perfectly fine, though. just scratches, which look a *lot better today. my visual memory of last night is that she had hamburger face, but it wasn't actually that bad.
i took the dogs out on leashes this morning, just to be on the safe side. there was no sign of The Thing, though.

so, what the heck did she tangle with? i'm guessing it was a raccoon, but they aren't very common here. i know they can hiss, but do 'possums growl?

shelly
http://home.bluemarble.net/~scouvrette
http://cat-sidh.blogspot.com /
http://letters-to-esther.blogspot.com / (updated 4/3/05)
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so, what the heck did she tangle with? i'm guessing it was a raccoon, but they aren't very common here.

Sounds to me like a raccoon - in addition to the noises, they're also a lot more likely to be scrappy. Glad to hear that Harriet's wounds are minor.
On Thursday night I was out on the deck with a couple of the dogs, who alerted on something over by the creek. I got out the binoculars and watched as a big skunk moved 4 of her babies, one-by-one, onto my property between the orchard and the creek. It was fascinating but it's also the sort of thing that makes you say "Oh, crap."

Melinda Shore - Software longa, hardware brevis - (Email Removed)

43% of all private-sector jobs created in the US
from 2001 to April 2005 are housing-related
so, what the heck did she tangle with? i'm guessing it was a raccoon, but they aren't very common here. i know they can hiss, but do 'possums growl?

Yes, they growl. But for one to bite enough to put a dent in a dog is very unusual. Raccoon or cat is more likely.

Diane Blackman
http://dog-play.com /
http://dogplay.com/Shop /
Sounds to me like a raccoon - in addition to the noises, they're also a lot more likely to be scrappy.

that's what i figured. oh, and by "not common here" i mean that i don't see as many of them road killed as i do 'possums, squirrels, etc. we've got raccoons a-plenty.
Glad to hear that Harriet's wounds are minor.

thank you! the blood gave me a fright (face wounds do know how to bleed!). after she calmed down, though, she was Just Fine no clinginess and she was very interested in the leftovers i was putting away.
On Thursday night I was out on the deck with a couple of the dogs, who alerted on something over ... orchard and the creek. It was fascinating but it's also the sort of thing that makes you say "Oh, crap."

oh no! is there anything you can do to encourage Ms. Skunk to take her family somewhere else?
i have yet to have a dog tangle with a skunk (knocking furiously on wood). i think i'd probably cry like a baby if one of them ever did.

shelly
http://home.bluemarble.net/~scouvrette
http://cat-sidh.blogspot.com /
http://letters-to-esther.blogspot.com / (updated 4/3/05)
in thread shelly (Email Removed) whittled the following words:
when i let the dogs out at night, i'm always careful to turn on the porch light and make lots ... guessing it was a raccoon, but they aren't very common here. i know they can hiss, but do 'possums growl?

Coons do both. I've never encountered a growling possum, even though encountering one in dire straits is a daily occurence with me. not to say they don't. it just hasn't been my experience.
oh no! is there anything you can do to encourage Ms. Skunk to take her family somewhere else?

This place is just one thing after another, and last month my barn foundation caved in. The barn is still standing and irreplaceable (over 100 years old, 60' hand-hewn beams, etc.) so I'm having the foundation rebuilt and some other structural work done. The foundation guys are parking all over my lawn and I'm hoping the hullaballoo will scare off the skunks. It's a big skunk with a lot of white that I'd seen crossing the road a few times, and when I mentioned it to a friend she says that there's a new "race" of big skunks with lots of white that tend to be particularly aggressive, but I think that may be a rural legend kind of a story.
Melinda Shore - Software longa, hardware brevis - (Email Removed)

43% of all private-sector jobs created in the US
from 2001 to April 2005 are housing-related
so, what the heck did she tangle with? i'm guessing ... here. i know they can hiss, but do 'possums growl?

Yes, they growl. But for one to bite enough to put a dent in a dog is very unusual.

that's been my experience of 'possums. they just do not want to tangle with dogs, no matter how much the dog insists on it. harriet has killed them without them ever coming out of their "playing dead" routine.
Raccoon or cat is more likely.

it could've been a cat. there are plenty of ferals and strays around. for a split second, i was afraid rory had gotten out and been cornered. i can't recollect why i thought that, though whether it was the sound or the size or what. my recollection of the growling is that it seemed cat-like, but i don't trust myself on that one.
and, now that you've mentioned that, i'd best check with my neighbors and make sure their cats are all okay. they don't usually roam as far as my place, but they've got a ginormous black male who visits periodically. i sure hope that's not what happened.

shelly
http://home.bluemarble.net/~scouvrette
http://cat-sidh.blogspot.com /
http://letters-to-esther.blogspot.com / (updated 4/3/05)
so, what the heck did she tangle with? i'm guessing it was a raccoon, but they aren't very common here. i know they can hiss, but do 'possums growl?

Possums make godawful noises and even scarier faces and they can be kind of enormous. That'd be my bet.

Catherine
& Zoe the cockerchow
& Queenie the black gold retriever
& Rosalie the calico
Coons do both. I've never encountered a growling possum, even though encountering one in dire straits is a daily occurence with me. not to say they don't. it just hasn't been my experience.

thanks! that fits with my limited experience. i'd nearly forgotten, but the dogs did tangle with a 'possum, years ago, when i was living in town. that one was seriously *** off, but it only hissed. also, it didn't harm the dogs. then again, they weren't as serious about killing critters back then.

shelly
http://home.bluemarble.net/~scouvrette
http://cat-sidh.blogspot.com /
http://letters-to-esther.blogspot.com / (updated 4/3/05)
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