Last night about 9:30 PM I put Dudley out so he could take care of his business before we put him to bed for the night. When I opened the door, instead of walking out as he usually does, he bounded out the door of the cabin, veered to the left and then ran down the hill that leads to the lake. Before I could follow him outdoors, I heard him barking in the darkness. He made such a racket that I knew he had found something–or something had found him. Out here in the woods, that something could be anything from a squirrel to a snake to a coyote to a deer or even a wild turkey. It turned out that Dudley (our year-and-a-half old basset hound) had heard a raccoon moving in the leaves. Or maybe he picked up his scent. By the time I got to the driveway, I saw Dudley at the base of a tree, looking up and barking like crazy. And there, if I concentrated my vision, I could see the outline of a young raccoon, clutching the side of the trees, carefully climbing upward. I called for Marlene to come see this sight.
She found our hand-held spotlight, which froze the raccoon on the side of the tree, his eyes shining through his furry mask.
After several minutes we went back inside. Dudley stayed on guard lest the raccoon should try any funny business. After a while he came inside and flopped on the couch, worn out from his exertions. We all slept well last night knowing that Sergeant Dudley was on the job.