Elise Fehr was watering plants in her southeast Calgary neighbourhood when she heard an ominous rustling coming from beneath her deck.
"I was like, 'Oh, that's not a sparrow,'" Fehr told the Calgary Eyeopener.
When she ventured closer to peek between the stairs, she was greeted by a musky scent.
At first, she thought it might be a skunk.
Instead, she discovered a quilled creature making itself at home.
Porcupine beneath the deck
Discovering the porcupine was a surprise; what to do with it would become a saga.
Watch how that saga ends in the video above
Fehr and her husband, Grant, called the City of Calgary's 311 line and were directed to Alberta Fish and Wildlife.
Fish and Wildlife then told them porcupines are not part of their jurisdiction and advised them to call the city.
The City of Calgary later told CBC News that porcupines are considered pests, and so it's best to contact a local pest control company if you have concerns with one, or any of the following wildlife, on your property:
In the end, the couple took the advice of wildlife officers, who told them to shoo the interloper away by making it uncomfortable.
They figured a garden hose would be the safest and most humane way to accomplish that.
Porcupine up a tree
It worked, briefly.
The porcupine scooted out from beneath the deck — and immediately climbed up their tree.
The Fehrs, along with their neighbour, regrouped. They ditched the hose in favour of a broom, along with a freshly emptied recycling bin.
If they could shoo it out of the tree, they figured the bin would be ideal for catching, holding and then relocating the porcupine.
"It took a lot longer than we thought, because we were doing it gently, [and] we managed to get the bin up a bit higher, so his drop wasn't too intense," said Fehr.
Porcupine in a recycling bin
With the intruder successfully confined to the recycling bin, they loaded it into a truck and released it into the wild at a ridge near their property.
Once it was gone, Fehr realized she had developed a soft spot for the creature.
"He actually wasn't an aggressive porcupine," she said. "He was kind of docile."
If it ever finds its way back to her garden, Fehr said she and her husband may just admit defeat.
"It's a long journey, so if he made it back, I'll know he was destined to be ours."