Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Dear Ranger Rick

My Gmail inbox today had a personalized letter to KMan and myself:

Dear CP and Kman,

When children first saw my magazine, RANGER RICK®, some forty years ago, the world was a different place.

My woodland friends and I had plenty of room to find the food, clean water and shelter we needed to raise a healthy family.

Today, our options are much more limited.

But thanks to National Wildlife Federation’s Certified Wildlife Habitat™ program, over 100,000 caring Americans have helped restore our natural habitats…right in their own backyards!

Want to join them? All you need to do is provide the things that animals need most: food, water, cover and places to raise our young. It’s that easy!

And, when you certify your backyard, your $15 tax-deductible application fee helps NWF continue its important conservation and education work on behalf of wildlife across the country.

Plus, you get these great benefits:

Hmmmm. Don't get me wrong - I am a big tree and wildlife hugger. And participate/contribute when I can, but certain recent events around our house might make Ranger Rick think twice...

Last week, our three canine family members cornered an older female raccoon in the backyard in the wee hours of last Wednesday morning. The coon scuttled under the toolshed, until about 6:40 AM when she tried once again to reach the pastures behind our house.

Alas, the three goof-butt dogs were just ready and waiting for that dash. After some vicious intimidation from the dogs and my subsequent water hosing to their faces, she retreated once again to the safety under the shed.

A call to Animal Control proved unsuccessful in an attempt to loop a wire around the raccoon and pull her out from under the shed, so with a shrug, the employee simply left and went about his other duties saying that maybe she might escape yet. I was already at work by that time, having left the situation in the hands of Kman and the Animal Control Superman. He didn't seemed concerned, but I was pissed enough for three taxpayers when Kman called me later to say they had left the raccoon AND the dogs all in the backyard. To be fair, Kman had to return to work as well, and we don't have three kennels to lock the dogs up in. Dogs roaming loose in the house wasn't an option either.

No, she couldn't escape; unfortunate little animal wasn't fast enough. Etta, the youngest of the pack and part German shepard, exhibited her more ancient DNA traits and proceeded to dispatch the hapless interloper to Coon Heaven at her next attempt at freedom.

Animal Control returned to retrieve the carcass, but wouldn't promise to send the head off to Austin for rabies testing since no human was bitten. Luckily, all of our dogs are up to date on their vaccines; still, I touched the them and I am sure they had raccoon slobber, urine and blood all over them in places.

Rusty, the part Rhodesian/part boxer, had to take antibiotics for 10 days due to a rather nasty bite on his neck - which is healing just fine.

So, Ranger Rick, do you still want to certify our backyard?


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