Got one!  Now don’t worry, no one was hurt in the process, neither people nor raccoons.  It was little Tommy.  He couldn’t resist the tuna flavored cat food in the live trap.  Sister Sally, along with Mom and Dad, Gus and Belle, have yet to venture in and snap the door shut.  While I am sure he misses the family (who I hope will join him soon), he is clearly old enough to fend for himself.  Those paws and claws looked a little menacing this morning. 

There is a luxurious new home, laden with food, that awaits them as, hopefully, they are all relocated to a more raccoon friendly neighborhood.  I was fine with one.  It was a little too much, however, when Belle started bringing the twins along regularly.  Then when Gus came and stood his ground, taking ownership of our deck, refusing to allow his human host anywhere near the deck, the decision was made that a relocation effort would be undertaken.   I suspect he is at least twenty-five pounds of intimidating bulk.  It is a good friend with experience in relocating raccoons who is providing the equipment, the expertise and the transportation to their new home.  Thanks, Tim!

While we have finally had a bit of success in the relocation project, I am not altogether confident that the whole family will cooperate.   The first attempt netted only an empty cat food can and an unsnapped trap.  The next night drew no interest from the raccoons.  The third try ended up with an empty cat food can, a snapped trap, but no occupant.  It is only the fourth try that has resulted in a relocation. 

I have loved animals all my life; my Dad did before me.  He was a conservationist before it was popular to be one.  No hunters were allowed on the property, although he trapped muskrats along the creek for a while.  When we caught fish, they were to be released again.  He fed the deer.  We watched a raccoon, Goldie by name (golden colored fur), raise her family.  He would pat the chickens on the head when he gathered eggs.  He could call birds with his whistling, owls with his imitation of their calls. 

I love wildlife, but there comes a time when the issue is territorial.  This is my house, my deck, and my bird food!  Sharing a little is one thing.  Eating large quantities of very expensive food and camping out on my deck is another.  One guest is okay once in a while, but moving the whole family in permanently is another matter. 

I have no idea what this subject has to do with Caregiving.  If there is any relevance, it has to do with keeping this Caregiver healthy.  It has been a focus of attention, something different from the routine demands of our situation.  The sight and sound of the waterfall in the back yard, the sounds of singing insects, birds chirping and jockeying for position on the bird feeders, all provide a kind of accessible therapy.  The raccoon relocation project is just another distraction that engages my energy and attention here at the house.   I guess, if the deck provides deck therapy, maybe this project is raccoon therapy (therapy for me, not the raccoons!).

One additional benefit provided by the relocation of the raccoons may be their removal from the bedroom hallucinations.  If they are no longer in the neighborhood, maybe they will no longer be in our bedroom.

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