Columns: No Margins, No Limits, No Kidding!
POSSUM ON MY PORCH!
I live in the country, way out in the woods, so I live with wildlife and my dogs and I respect the fact that the critters were here first.
Vickie Haywood, Dog Sports Editor
I stand there watching the sun turn glorious, admiring my surroundings… then I catch myself wishing the Red Tail Hawks would have more squirrel on the menu...
But being wild, the “wildlife” have no idea about rules - and I have some rules! Just ask my wonderfully obedient poodles. As a dog owner, I’m sure these rules make sense to you.
Rule # 1 NO SNAKES
Rule # 2 you live where you live and leave my home/den/dogs alone!
The local critters do not always abide by my rules, therefore I have had some unwelcome visitors. I can live with that. But not in my HOUSE!!!! The first critter that came to live in my house began this tale…
One night while still married, I was sound asleep in my bed when I heard this god-awful screaming from the living room. It was my husband’s habit to fall asleep in the recliner in front of the TV. When I was ready to get horizontal, I would just go to bed and at some point he would wake up and come to bed.
On this night his screams brought me to my feet and flying out to the living room! Husband sheepishly said he had a dream that there were rats in the couch. “Oh just a nightmare dear, come to bed” I said.
A couple of nights later the same thing happened. And again a few nights after that. The FOURTH time it happened I heard “I am not crazy!! I was NOT dreaming. I saw them - there are POSSUMS in the couch!”
Shaking my head, I tottered into the living room and sure enough there were possum babies cavorting on my couch! Well! Thus ensued the grand catching of said possums. It took some time as they are wily little critters. Since we had no idea how they got in or how many there actually were, I got some Halloween hair dye in a can and proceeded to spray each one of the tiny things we caught to ensure we were not catching the same one over and over.
Jager, my Champion poodle now 12 years old, was then only a baby. He laid there watching, tilting his head from side to side as I caught a few in a coffee can. I put it outside (waaay outside) knowing the mom would find them and hopefully take them somewhere else, very, very far away. My husband spent some time under the house looking for places where they might have gotten in but that is still a mystery to this day.
Fast Forward to last fall, 10 years later, now divorced. I was sound asleep in my bed. I kept hearing a rattle-scritchy-scratchy sound in my sleep, rolled over, opened one eye and saw a long naked rat tail coming out from under my bed. In my still sleeping mind I thought.. "how did the rat get out of the cage???" I should explain that I have worked in many situations like pet shops. Still half asleep, I leaned over and grabbed a naked tail. MUCH TO MY SURPRISE the other end of that tail was a black and white face full of teeth hissing at me!!! And of course, in my shock, I threw that thing across the room!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and SCREAMED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and it RAN!!!!!!!!!!! It ran behind the washing machine! Good Lord, here we go again...must be the granddaddy-from-hell come back to avenge the babies. Shudder…
So then ensued the plan to catch said nightmare possum! I purchased a small live trap at Tractor Supply and set it diligently every night for 10 nights. Right in front of the dog’s water bowl.
Having been an animal control officer many years ago, I knew what to use to catch critters: tuna, sardines, peanut butter, but all my tricks failed. In desperation I got a can of mixed fish cat food ... and that night I heard the trap door fall!
And so Jorge .. as he/she was named...was transported half way across the county to the river where he/she was turned loose into the wild once again.
But, since I live where I live, the critters continue to plague me. Every day at sun up it starts; the fat squirrels race up and down the roof, the possums get into the trash, and the red fox slinks back to his den.
Such is my life on my side of the fence...
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