This Best of Bogue column originally was published Sept. 30, 2001.
I get a lot of mail from readers telling me all sorts of stories about their raccoon problems digging up lawns, midnight pool parties, etc., but I think the tale below from Wayne and Leslie McF., of Concord, sets a record, of sorts.
I particularly admire Wayne's cool demeanor under fire.
Night before last, at 2:45 a.m., we were awakened by masked bandits roaming around inside our house.
We have been in the habit of leaving the sliding glass door and its screen open a bit during the night so that our cat, Chico, can go in and out as he wants. This had become a necessity because he had been regularly disturbing our sleep, asking (insisting!) to go out.
My wife woke me, saying, "Chico must have brought in an animal he caught."
She had heard a strange clicking on the floor, and grunting sounds, and when I turned on the lamp at my bedside and looked toward the sliding glass door, I saw the disappearing tail of a medium-size raccoon.
Realizing the raccoon had been inside roaming around, and that was what my wife had heard, I got up and went over to close the door just as Chico came bounding in.
Apparently he had been avoiding the raccoon. Once he was inside, I slid the door shut.
Mistake! No sooner than I had closed the door, when I heard noises from the other end of the
Thinking it was the cat, I went to see what he might be doing.
As I entered the living room and turned on a light, I saw another raccoon making his way around the back of the couch across the brick floor in front of the fireplace around an easy chair and out through the dining room.
I followed, running over to open the sliding glass door in the dining room, as I knew this raccoon now had no way to get out of the house.
Just as I unlocked the door, I heard screaming from our bedroom, and rushed back to help my wife.
The raccoon was running beside our bed, and my wife was sitting up, screaming.
I frightened the raccoon when I came dashing into the bedroom and it jumped up on the head of our bed, trotted across our two pillows just behind my wife, down onto the floor again and out the bedroom door back toward the other end of the house.
I reopened the sliding door in our bedroom and Chico ran outside again wanting no part of the raccoon that was still in our house.
I heard noises from our guest room, and my wife said she thought the raccoon was trying to get out through the closed window.
I found the creature clawing at the curtain by the window, looking for an escape route.
Totally naked, and without a weapon of any kind, I picked up a pillow from the bed and used it and my voice to shoo the raccoon out the guest room door and out of the house through the open door in our bedroom.
Having learned my lesson about closing doors, I left it open and went back through the house opening the dining room door, which I'd only had time to unlock before my wife started to scream, making sure there were no more masked bandits left inside.
Then I went outside and retrieved Chico and closed all of the doors.
For obvious reasons, we will be leaving our doors shut at night and keeping Chico inside for now.
Gary Bogue has retired after 42 years of writing this column. If you have animal-related questions, contact Joan Morris at email@example.com; or P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA 94596.