Housesitting is the “easiest” of jobs. Stay in the house, munch on snacks, watch TV, occasionally let the dog out, and bring in the mail. Not much more and no less. That is the job. And it is supposed to be quite safe.
I had an overnight stay at a house in Seattle last night. The family has hired me for two weeks in June but they wanted to give me a practice night before the long-term. It was easy money. They had two small pomeranian dogs named “Jezebel” and “Jackson”. If you’ve never seen a pomeranian before, all you need to know is they weigh no more than ten pounds and the majority of them is made of fluff. They are quite social and exciteable little dogs.
The whole day went fine, as well as the night. However. Morning came, and little did I know that I was in for an experience. It was shortly after dawn and wasn’t quite light out yet. I woke up early and wasn’t able to get back to sleep. The dogs were already up, so I rolled out of bed, remade the sheets, and got dressed. I followed the dogs down the 80-year-old spiral staircase, which wood boards creaked under my every step. This house was built in 1927. And I get to live there for two weeks in June. Joy to my soul.
First thing I did was let the dogs into the backyard through the back kitchen door. I followed them out to make sure they did their business. The yard was fenced so they couldn’t go anywhere, but I wanted to make sure. We walked around a bit and I kissed to the dogs, encouraging them to do whatever it is they needed to do. Suddenly, they both became quite restless and started running around the yard, barking wildly. They were getting loud, so I decided to take them back in, to avoid waking the neighbours.
They followed me into the house and I closed the door. I went into the kitchen to prepare their breakfast and both Jezebel and Jackson eyed me as I did so. They sat on the tile floor and watched as I scooped kibble into their dishes. I chatted with them a little, “Are you guys hungry? Ready for breakfast?” But in the middle of my rambling, both dogs turned and bolted back through the doggie door and into the backyard. I heard their barks and I wondered if they were barking at the paper boy or an early morning walker. However, soon their barks turned from a sound of warning to shrieks of terror and panic. I darted for the door and watched as Jezebel leapt through the doggie door. Jackson started to climb through, but he suddenly stopped and started to struggle against something outside. Something wasn’t letting him back in!
I swung open the door and found a huge raccoon attacking Jackson’s back and legs! It was growling and snarling and wouldn’t let Jackson go. “Tigger”, the pet cat, sat a few feet away, hissing and batting his paws at the raccoon, but it didn’t make a difference. I was so scared, I did the only thing I could think to do and I kicked the raccoon as hard as I could. This freed Jackson and he bounded into the house, however the raccoon turned its rage onto my leg and bit me through my pantleg. One more swift kick and the raccoon backed off.
Back in the house, both dogs were frantic. They were panting and barking and appeared to be in as much shock as me. I looked them all over and luckily, found no injuries on either of them. Even the bite on my leg wasn’t serious. He hadn’t even drawn blood.
The daughter who lives in the spare cottage had heard the noise and came out wearing nothing but a blanket. The whole thing had happened so suddenly, she didn’t have any idea what happened. I explained the whole story and she could hardly believe her ears. I showed her my hands and how badly they were shaking. But she encouraged me and said I’d done all the right things. She said her mom wouldn’t be upset with what happened and I should simply lock the dogs in the house and call later to explain what had happened.
So that is what I did. And Cindy was very understanding. In fact, I think she feels even better than she ever did before about me staying in June. Like she can completely rely on me to come through for her dogs. For goodness sakes, I kicked a raccoon. And took a bite for it. How many people can say they took on a raccoon and won? Although there are few who would have to take on a raccoon in the first place… Nonetheless. I’m glad I had a tetnus shot four years ago.