Last night, we returned home from a family dinner at Nana’s to a bit of mayhem in our yard. A trash bag that had been left outside of the barrel (oops, cleaning people) had been ripped, shredded, and ransacked. The scraps and unsalvageable leftovers from the previous night’s neighborhood appetizers-and-cookie-swap-party were strewn all over the driveway and under the back porch. Stained and smeared paper plates and napkins, chicken wing bones, piles of rancid salads and cheeses….

“Oh, good lord, we don’t need this,” uttered Hubby.

“Just go in and grab a trash bag, and we’ll scoop it up right now,” I suggested.

So Hubby bounded up the stairs, only to stop short, yell “HOLY S–T!” and run back down.

“What? What?” I demanded.

“Honey, there’s two huge raccoons at our back door!”

Both kids jumped out of the car, energized. “Awesome!” declared Babygirl.

“Can I see? Can I see?” begged Babyboy.

So we let the kids peek at the curious creatures, who did not flinch, growl, hiss or run. They seemed pretty happy to hang out up there until we annoying humans got out of their way and allowed them to resume their feast.

So we all went around to the front door and got the photo from the inside looking out. There are two raccoons there: a big mama and a smaller baby, tucked underneath her.

They were pretty cute. But, pests are pests and the mess had to be cleaned. Hubby was already panicking about the other animals who may be attracted by the gloriously gross trash mess, and he was peering nervously out the windows checking for rats…

Honestly, in the spirit of the holidays, I would have delayed the cleanup and let these fluffy bandits fill their wild little bellies. Whatever, there’s already a mess, who cares?

Alas, I am limited to focusing my animal-lover sensibilities on our kitties and the shelter residents. I’m not even allowed to fill our bird feeders anymore, due to this year’s little rodent infestation. And don’t get me started about the tragic fate of the flying squirrel who found its way into our dining room last month.

Our kitties are spoiled beyond spoiled, but I know a bunch of deserving creatures who could sure use some Christmas love. Here are some of my favorite current residents at our town’s animal shelter, pictured below.

It’s a busy time of year, and there’s endlessly heartwrending news all around us. War, gun violence, disease, and Donald Trump… It’s all horrible and sickening stuff. But here is something pretty much everyone agrees on and can act on: animal rescue. A benign and worthy topic, featuring universally loveable subjects. So, no matter where you stand on terrorism, refugees, pestilence and famine, or politics, please consider supporting an animal rescue organization this holiday season.

Just LOOK at these loveys and try NOT to do something!

Trouble the tortoiseshell
Clover, sitting, transfixed on the peanut butter treat
Bessie, soooo patiently waiting for that treat
You’re not supposed to know about these guys, but they are SO FREAKING CUTE I CAN’T STAND IT!
And my favorite, funny guy Harpo, mellow marvel who loves to play