Hondas and raccoons don#8217;t mix

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 6, 2008

Recently, a fuzzy varmint smashed his way onto by naughty list via my Honda Civic. However, he didn’t live long enough to reap my wrath.

Last Thursday, I was finally returning home after work. Pulling onto the Bypass in Murfreesboro, I had a notion to skip my exit and go to the grocery store to purchase (of all things) bread.

But I ultimately decided to put off the task until the next day, sealing the fate of my car and the varmint—a seemingly suicidal raccoon that began his journey to the “other side” in a ravine on Union Street.

The masked critter was a grey blur as he ran from the side of the road into the path of my car. I’m assuming everyone knows what happened next…so I’ll spare the details.

When I got home and got out to inspect my car I figured I’d find a small amount of damage as event itself appeared to be harmless. It was just a raccoon, right?

WRONG! From the huge dent in my bumper it looked as though I had hit an elephant…a really, really short elephant. OK so I’m over exaggerating…but looking at the damage at that moment I felt like I might as well have hit an elephant.

The first words out of my mouth were unprintable, not very lady-like and oh, so Yankee.

After a quick trip inside my house, I returned with phone in hand dialing my mom’s number.

All I remember of the first part of the conversation is: “My car is destroyed. I hit a raccoon. I hate raccoons. I hope the little jerk suffered. I’m going to take up hunting and kill every raccoon in North Carolina.”

Raccoon/animal/wildlife advocates can rest assure that this was hollow threat since I don’t even know how to shoot a gun.

And then my mom probably made one of the worse responses.

“Now, come on, are you sure it’s that bad?” she said. “It was only a raccoon.”

“Wha-What? Of course it’s that bad. I’m standing here in front of it, it’s bad. It’s really bad.”

“Are you sure it’s not just ding?”

“No, it’s a massive dent,” I answered.

After approximately 15 minutes of fuming and ranting on the phone, I suddenly noticed there was a dog groveling at my feet.

She was a small Shepard mix, fairly young and looked as though she had just had a litter of puppies or was in the early stages of being in the “motherly way.”

After asking a few neighbors if they knew who the dog belonged and making a few phone calls, I came to the conclusion I was stuck with her until I could take her to a rescue group.

Obviously this was God’s way of punishing me for killing the raccoon. Some twisted kill one animal, get one free deal.

The dog made herself at home on the porch, as far as she could go as my lease prohibits dogs. After a couple pieces of left over turkey from my refrigerator, a bowl of water and a couple of towels to lie on, she was as good as gold.

Still my night was just beginning as I had to make it back to Ahoskie to write up stories for Saturday’s edition as with dent in my car it looked as I probably would be in a garage all day Friday.

By the time I returned from Ahoskie (for the second time that day), I realized the damage on my car was probably cosmetic and if there was anything damaged under the hood it could wait to be fixed.

The dog, who I had named Dizzy before I left because she constantly chased her tail, was waiting in the shadows of the porch.

The next day I took her to PAWS before calling my insurance company.

One adjustment and estimate later, I’ve learned my car can be repaired and will be in the shop for two days…in the meantime it will be a rental car on the Northampton County/Murfreesboro beat with me.

And hopefully the raccoons in that vicinity will know enough to stay out of the way.

Amanda VanDerBroek is a Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. For comments and column suggestions email: or call (252) 332-7209.