Tuesday, May 10, 2011

When a possum and a Star collide

Star recently started "ghost hunting" in the middle of the night. The last time she hunted ghosts, our house had been invaded by a Texas mouse, and Star was reacting to the tiny mouse noises as it scurried around in places unseen. Now she was back at it: staring into the dark rooms of our back addition, frozen in place, eyes as big and round as dinner plates.

The "ghost" may have returned, but I didn't see any signs of a mouse or other critter inside the house, so we weren't sure what to make of Star's behavior. She was hearing something--but what, and from where?

Do you hear that?? Shh!!

Star literally tripped over the answer last night when I let the dogs out to do their bedtime business. The young possum was in the wrong place at the wrong time--drinking out of the dogs' water bowl on the back porch--when the back door opened and two huge dogs came barreling out.

Star basically ran over the poor thing, but she didn't really notice it until it squealed. When it did, it became "Awesome New Squeaky Toy (TM)," and Star scooped it up into her mouth. In the next instant, it dawned on everyone (myself included) that this was NOT a toy. Poor Star... Her whole face wrinkled up as if she was about to vomit, her jaws went totally limp, her tongue rolled out, and she dropped the furry little ball onto the ground. Then she looked up at me with the same outraged look she gives when she uncovers a pill hidden inside a ball of peanut butter: "How DARE you! This thing isn't fun--it's DISGUSTING. Good DAY, madam, GOOD DAY!" For emphasis, she ran off into the yard to make an undignified wretching sound in Dozer's face.

Thus was I left alone on the porch with what appeared at first glance to be a large dead rat. But it was not a rat; it was a rat-sized possum, playing dead with all its might. After the dogs went back inside, I sat and waited for it to come back to life.

Young possums, by the way, are cute as hell.

Though quite drooled upon, this young possum didn't seem the worse for its time spent in a dog's jaws. Unfortunately, when it started to walk around, it was dragging its back foot. There weren't any significant puncture wounds from teeth, so I think the foot probably got broken when the possum was run over by an oblivious 60 lb dog. (That would also explain why it squealed as it was trampled--it should have quietly rolled up.)

I don't know a lot about possums, but I do know that their tail and back legs are very important for mobility. This possum's leg needed medical attention, so in the morning, I took the poor little guy down to Wildlife Rescue. These guys do a great job with local injured wildlife. I donate to them every time I bring them an animal.

But here is what I ascertained after watching the possum hobble around on our porch: The young critter had found a small hole under the back addition and was apparently living under the house. This evening, I'll check under the house to make sure there aren't any other possums, and then I'll close up the hole.

In theory, this will put a stop to Star's ghost-hunting, too.

I hear something!


Kari in WeHo said...

wow. If mine had caught the thing it might not be alive today!


Leila said...

OMG!!! Poor Star, Poor Possum, Poor Jen. Maddie the Magnificent found one in our back yard and had a grand time with it. We didn't know Possums could fly. By the time we realized what exactly Miss Maddie was playing with. Maddie was confused, the possum had beat a slobbery, dizzy retreat, and all had returned to normal in the world. With, of course the exception of Quizz who had realized he had missed out on something. He spent the next day sniffing the entire yard looking for the hapless possum. Only to come up with chipmunks. A poor, poor substitute.

Daisy Dog said...

Aww he is a cute little guy! I hope he makes it. Glad Star was "gentle" with him. At least she isn't hearing "dead people".

Say HI to Dozer :)

Two Grad Students and a Pittie said...

Havi's Aunt Molly had a similar run in with a hedgehog!

Rae said...

Omg, I laughed til it hurt at your description of her reaction to the taste! Lol. I've seen the same look on my pup's face when he snatches up something we drop that's not tasty, like a lemon wedge. Heehee.

Oskar said...

That is an awful cute little possum! I'm glad everyone made it out OK.

Nubbin wiggles,

T2 - My life with pit bulls said...

You didn't hear this from me, but that wretched little possum really was pretty cute! I'm glad you gave him and hand by taking him to the wildlife folks - he would have fared much worse with someone else.

PoochesForPeace said...

im so glad you helped the possum. a lot of people dont like them but i think they r wonderful in their own little way!! And that baby isss cuuteee!