Grits was a very gentle dog, and especially loved children. He loved babies of all kinds. He was also very protective and territorial, making the rounds of our fenced-in yard regularly. More than once he chased people away from our cars and garage, preventing theft and vandalism.
Occasionally Grits would have a run-in with an animal, whether it was another dog who challenged him or a wild creature who invaded his yard. He was the master of his domain.
Late one summer night, we heard Grits barking frantically. There was bumping against the house and a lot wild creature sounds. We ran outside with flashlights to find that Grits had cornered a raccoon in the bushes next to the house. This was not his first, nor his last, raccoon encounter. We were able to distract him long enough for the huge raccoon to make it out of the bushes and over the fence. Grits was furious, but unharmed. We weren’t sure about the raccoon; he was gone.
Early one morning shortly thereafter, we again heard a ruckus in the bushes. It was still dark outside, so we grabbed flashlights and ran to assist both Grits and the presumed raccoon. We did not want anyone hurt.
When we got outside, Grits seemed extremely agitated and concerned. He was almost frantic, but this time we couldn’t see the other animal. We could hear hissing and growling, though. Figuring it was wedged under the bushes, we needed to be extra careful. Bill tried to scare it out. He shook the bushes with a rake, to no avail.
Next he grabbed the garden hose; he was going to “flush” it out, he said. He turned on the water, and pointed the hose to the area where the sounds were coming from. The growling stopped; then we heard rustling in the bushes. I was now able to shine the flashlight into the area of movement.
There sat a drenched little baby raccoon. The poor little thing was shivering, and very angry. By this time, Grits was inconsolable. We realized that he wanted to save this baby, but the baby was not cooperating. He was crying and howling, while trying to get into the bushes. I had a hard time holding onto him, as Bill focused on the baby raccoon.
Bill parted the bushes as far as he could with the rake. Very gently, he scooped up the raccoon cub. He was so small that he easily fit onto the rake. Thankfully, the little guy clung to it, all the while cussing Bill and Grits a blue streak.
As Grits and I moved away, Bill lifted the little guy over the chain-link fence, sliding him onto the ground as far from the fence as possible. The cub seemed okay, just upset by the entire incident. Grits however immediately ran to the fence, still crying under his breath. Seeing the raccoon, he wagged his tail and proceeded to lie down next to the fence. He would not move. Concerned, he chose to keep his eyes on his little friend.
For the next two hours, they stayed that way. I watched to make sure both were okay. I did not want a mother raccoon to appear and threaten Grits. I was also worried about the drenched raccoon cub. Just before sunrise, I noticed the cub was gone. Grits was finally ready to come inside. He had done his job.