Never put your mailing address on a dead raccoon

This is my first blog posting and I’ve always heard that first impressions are important so I thought I’d start things off with my best story. All of us have stories that we like to tell and some of them are better than others. This is my best story and it even comes with a moral; never put your mailing address on a dead raccoon.

One day a year or so ago we started getting a lot of flies buzzing around our house. That’s unusual for us because we live in the little town of Montara on the coastside of northern California and we don’t get a lot of bugs. So the presence of the flies told me that we probably had something nasty that was attracting the flies and I went looking for what it was. It didn’t take long to find it, a dead raccoon swarming with freshly hatched flies lying under our porch. Needless to say one of us had to go and I paid the mortgage and he didn’t .

I grabbed a box out of the garage and put it inside a big garbage bag. My plan was to scoop up the carcass with a shovel, drop it in the box, pull the sides of the bag up over the box and seal it shut. And it worked perfectly! One scoop, close the flaps of the box and twist the bag shut and it was done. Stinky mouldering raccoon, swarm of flies, and all sorts of nastiness in one neat little closed package. And the moment I taped the bag shut I realized my error. The box I dropped ole Rocky Raccoon in had my mailing address on it, thus severely limiting my disposal options.

I’m not proud to admit it but I had been thinking I’d just drop stinky ole Rocky in some out of the way spot in the woods or some dumptster and get him out of my life as quickly as possible. But I’d just slapped my name and address on his mouldering carcass, along with my mom’s return address. And the last thing I wanted to do was to open that bag and unleash the swarm of ticked off flies and a cloud of pungeant raccoon perfume. And to top it all off my wife had seen me do all this and she’s a stickler for doing things properly and legally. I was stuck, I had to figure out the proper and legal method for disposing of a raccoon carcass on a Sunday afternoon.

I started making phone calls to try to figure out what to do with stinky mouldering ole Rocky. A few calls later I found that the approved method of dealing with deceased wildlife in ones yard was to package it up much as I had done and to take it to the Humane Society, where they would dispose of the remains. The only problem is that it’s 3:00 and the Humane Society closes at 4:00 on Sunday and I’ve got a mountain, several highways and an international airport terminal in between me and them. It’s time to get a hustle on. So Rocky’s cardboard and plastic coffin gets tossed into the back of my pickup and we set off on a high speed tour of the San Francisco Bay Peninsula.

As I drive well over the limit over Devil’s Slide, past SFO, and down Highway 101 I can hear the box of decaying foulness sliding around in the bed of the truck bumping against the sides with every turn and I begin to wonder why the Humane Socity wants dead raccoons. Are they just really nice people who help out homeowners who become the involuntary owners of wildlife carcasses? Or is this how they feed the stray dogs? And what exactly am I supposed to do with ole Rocky when I pull up to their office?

I arrive at the Humane Society with about 10 minutes to spare, grab Rocky’s container out of the back of the truck, and head into the office. As walk through the front door I see several small groups huddled excitedly around one counter filling out paperwork and holding a kitten or puppy who is obviously being adopted. So I stroll up to the counter with my box of death and decay and try to keep my voice low as I mumble “I’ve got a dead raccoon here, where do I take it?”. The lady behind the counter directs me to the other end of the building as every person in the group of puppy-adopters turns to stare at me as though I’ve just walked into their happy gathering with a corpse in a box. Which, of course, I had.

At the desk of the Raccoon Remains Disposal Division I had to fill out a card with my name, address and cause of death for the late lamented Rocky Raccoon. For some reason they didn’t want to take my address from the shipping label on his cardboard coffin. I wasn’t sure what to put for cause of death and the folks Raccoon Disposal weren’t helping with any suggestions. I punted with “natural causes”. But they were nice enough and told me that they would just drop the remains in their incinerator. With that Rocky and I went our separate ways but he left me with a new motto to guide me in the future. Never put your mailing address on a dead raccoon. Hmm, maybe I should have warned them about the swarm of angry flies in the bag….

Follow up: The second raccoon
A week or so ago my wife told me that a juvenile raccoon was killed and was lying in the ditch next to where she and the kids walk on their way to school. This is upsetting the kids quite a lot. Our two year old met me at the door the other day with the tearful announcement “baby r’coon dead, Mama r’coon sad”. A week later and the raccoon carcass, none the better for the passage of time, is still there and still causing tears in the family. So tonight I grabbed some garbage bags, a shovel and packaged it up for disposal. It’s in a double-bag in the back of my truck, no mailing label in sight.

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2 Comments on “Never put your mailing address on a dead raccoon”

  1. Erika Says:

    Ask Craig about the racoon (dead and rotting) he had to retrieve from under his friend’s house. He also mowed the meadow (& rats) in front of her house for her. What a guy!

    Best part is that you had to fill out a form that asked for cause of death… what a bunch of maroons!


  2. Well thank you so much for giving me a laugh. You see, I too have a dead raccoon this evening and I just put him in the box that My niece’s American Girl doll came in, which of course has MY MAILING ADDRESS on it! It was the perfect size. So- he is in the box in the leaf bag in the CARPORT. Animal Control won’t re-open until Monday morning- it’s Saturday. I geuss I will go double bag him.


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