The raccoon curled up next to a grease-stained, wadded paper bag from Rally’s and rested her head on an empty carton of milk. She wiggled her soft ears as she settled down deeper into the shallow layer of trash covering the base of the dumpster. Flies buzzed around, delighted with the stale, stinking air that they shared with the sick animal. She prepared for end; hot and weak, escape was no longer possible.
From one mammal to another, I felt a duty to ensure the suffering of the raccoon was minimal and called Animal Control.
A woman arrived carrying the infamous hoop pole, dressed in a brown animal-catching suit, and overly ready for an easy catch. Sick animals, however, are often the meanest and nastiest with which to wrangle. Is it the awareness of impending doom, the discomfort of disease, or a grasping desperately to the ability to continue living that brings out a wild energy from a creature previously lethargic and barely breathing? Animals and people are not so different in this final burst of effort to avoid the world of cold dirt and worms.
Whatever the case may be, Roxanne, as I have named our dumpster dweller, gave an evil hiss when she saw the woman in brown peering over the edge at her. She reared up backing over trash and bared her teeth, hissing and blinking. The loop came down and Roxanne darted sending up a swarm of flies. She dodged and rolled, jumped and crouched avoiding the loop for good few minutes before she caught.
Even with the loop around her fat belly, pulling her from the safety of the dumpster, Roxanne continued to fight with both little black fists in the air. Perhaps captured for the first and last time, she was dropped into a wire cage and taken to a destination unknown but likely not to see a vet for the medication and treatment she needed.
The lady in brown promised she would take her to a nice park where Roxanne would be safe to roam but I knew it was just an easy thing to say instead of the truth. What else could possible happen to a sick raccoon found in a dumpster?
Regardless of where she went, Roxanne will always be remembered as a brave little fighter that refused to give up or give in to the unstoppable nature of fate.