Saturday, October 16, 2004

RIP Peter Possom...

When my nieces were little, I wrote some animal stories for them that were based on true things that had happend here. For many years, the rear entry screen door did not close all the way because the door frame was crooked (indeed, our entire house is crooked, but that's another story). The dog and the cat weren't the only creatures who had learned to come in and out at will by sticking their nose in the gap at the bottom and bullying their way in. One fall, a tree frog came in several times and I finally let it stay in the bathroom where it mostly clung to the shower curtain and the redwood paneling in the the shower, and then finally hybernated in a knothole. It got too active the next spring and we let it go. That was Freddy Frog. Peter Possom got trapped in the house one night. It had come in to eat the dog's food, which was right by the back door. It heard me coming to shut the door for the night and hid in the storage area by the back door. Later after the house had quieted down, out he came looking for a way out. He woke us up, and I caught him and let him go. There was also a Sammy Skun, who preciptated a most unpleasant encounter. We found out the hard way (3 sprayings in less than a week) about letting the dog have free access outside during the wee hours of the morning (which is why I went to shut the door for the night). The other day while I was on my way to work, I stopped to make a left onto the state highway into town and there, far off on the right shoulder, was a dead possom. Only it wasn't dead. It raised its head a little and flopped around. I felt sick inside. I turned right instead, parked on the shouler, and went over to it. Its lower face had been crushed, and possibly its front shoulders. It was very much alive but unable to move, and its dying was going to be long and cruel. So I picked it up by the tail and drove it back to the house for R to shoot and went to work. Farmers only have to go through one experience of having a black snake, possom, skunk, coon, or fox in the hen house for them to immediately adopt a kill first, ask questions later policy for these smaller predatory animals. Even worse, there is a cruel streak in some of the people who live here -- anything on the road is fair game and they deliberately run them over -- turtles, snakes, possom, skunk, raccoon, and increasingly, armadillos. This possom was so far off the road that I am almost sure this was deliberate. I felt a little better that it didn't suffer too long. RIP Peter. ..

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