Getting to Know the Local Wildlife

Peanut and I had a cozy evening yesterday.  I gave him a belly rub to console him for the long day alone.  He thoroughly enjoyed said belly rub, and life moved along in a standard weeknight way.

Right around 11:30, I let Peanut into the back yard for his last fresh air of the evening.  Then he started to bark like crazy, which is pretty uncharacteristic for him.  He’s really not one of those yappy little dogs, I promise.  But there he was, barking at top lung capacity at 11:30 P.M.

I went outside to discourage that behavior.  By “went outside,” I mean that I stuck my head out the door and tried to sound authoritative and quiet at the same time.  It’s a tough balance to achieve.

Peanut totally ignored me.

After a few more minutes of loud barking in my back yard (Peanut, not me), I grabbed shoes and made the effort to actually go outside.  As soon as I got there, everything became clear.  What was Peanut barking at?  Normally, he barks at signs in yards and the occasional squirrel.  Not this time.

photo by Kevin Marks

There was a really big, really freaked out looking possum on the top of my back fence.  It was perched about a foot away from Peanut if they were on the same level, which thankfully they weren’t.

I didn’t scream, although I kind of wanted to.  So there I was, trying to quietly coax my dog away from the angry looking critter that might leap onto him at any moment.  I think there was some fear in the possum’s eyes, too.  I was banking on that.  I still didn’t want to actually walk over there to pick Peanut up though.  That would have put my face about two feet away from the possum’s beady little eyes.  Double yuck.

Peanut did eventually decide to stop defending our house and skittered towards me with his tail half-tucked between his legs.  He wanted to be big and bad and scare the possum away (or eat it), but that just wasn’t happening.  We both got inside as quickly as possible, at which point I started thinking about all of the really giant openings in my house to the outside.  Old houses are kind of a rat’s dream come true, and that possum certainly looked like a giant rat.  It still makes my skin crawl a little to think about that, but I slept like a rock anyway.

The end.

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