Dear Pet Lady,
The other night a raccoon came up on my deck and began marauding about my planters, digging in the dirt for my bulbs. I rapped on the glass and it just looked at me, and when I opened the door it came closer. I finally threw the doormat at it and it went away. Are raccoons malicious? What should I do if it comes back?
O, the raccoon, with its cute little hands and devious masque. When the Pet Lady was but a girl, her dear Pet Aunt and Uncle lived on a hillside out north above Lake Washington, when said hillside was but a forest rather than a hideous suburb. The Pet Aunt and Uncle would oftentimes provide a late-night snack for their local pod of raccoons in the form of a tray of Dog Chow placed on their veranda, and the Pet Girl and other family youths took great delight in watching (from a safe distance) the clamoring, fearless horde descend and daintily partake of the apparently very toothsome kibble. The line between entertainment for children and disastrous interference with Nature's ways is a fine one indeed, and who's to say when it's been crossed? Who, indeed? Yes, well, where were we? So far as malice goes, would you want to have a doormat thrown at you? The Pet Lady would suggest that if your nocturnal bulbivore returns, you have a nice sherry and retire for the evening.
The Pet Lady
Dear Pet Lady,
I work downtown near the waterfront. This seagull has been landing on my windowsill and clanking his beak against the window. He looks at me like he wants something, like he knows I have saltines in my desk for earthquake preparedness. I am scared to feed him but I kind of want to. I call him Ross.
To Feed or Not to Feed
Up close, a gull can be quite a compelling creature: sharp yellow beak, snowy white breast, funny feet. The Pet Lady can see why you are simultaneously drawn to and repelled by your office visitor, finding yourself in a quandary of Shakespearean proportions. The bulb/raccoon discussion above might enlighten you as to some of the joys of providing comestibles to our urban furred and/or feathered friends and/or acquaintances. On the other hand, you might jaunt over to Ivar's to witness firsthand the effects of feeding seagulls (in this case, French fries, but saltines would likely produce the same result; that is, reeling, screeching horror) and think about whether you want that outside your window whilst you attempt to work. You do not mention what it is that you do. Perhaps when your friend clanks on the glass, you ought to take it as a signal to have a nip from the bottom drawer (the best earthquake preparedness) and take a moment to contemplate your day and gull.
The Pet Lady
Bears in your yard? Get out there and take a photo to send to the Pet Lady. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or send by land to The Pet Lady, c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western, Ste 300, Seattle, WA 98104.