Wherefore At My Door, Opossum, Oh Possum?
Sometime during the last six months or so, I started going outside with Louis when I let him out at night. I’ve been doing this because:
- my parents guilted me into it
- my neighbor told me how many times he and his wife have seen bobcats around here
- there was recently a snake in my yard (click here to read about that)
I’ve lived here for 13+ years and Louis has lived here for 8+ years. Nothing’s ever gotten him yet, but that doesn’t mean it can’t ever happen. For the past year or so, my parents have pretty consistently shared their concerns that an owl is going to swoop down out of the sky, snatch up their little Grand-Doggy and eat him up. “He’s a little dog. An owl will grab up a little dog before you know it.”
On one breath they’re telling me I’ve gotten Louis fat, and with the next they’re explaining how an owl is going to carry him off because he’s “a little dog”. Grandparents! Even Grandparents to dogs think they know best. Well, maybe they do. Ultimately, the kicker was the bobcat thing – I started going out with Louis that night.
Louis is not afraid, and maybe that’s what concerns me most. So far, he has treed a raccoon, a groundhog, and countless squirrels. I suppose squirrels kind of tree themselves, but still. He’s chased turkey, deer, cats and dogs. He’s one of those little dogs that doesn’t know he’s a little dog, and he defends his territory.
I don’t generally get nervous out here unless I can see that Louis is nervous – that’s enough warning sign for me. There are occasions when we go out and he instantly seems go on alert, sniffing the air and looking this way and that out into the darkness. He goes all twitchy and that makes me twitchy, especially if he doesn’t want to leave the porch. During the day, he spends a lot of quality time staring out of the windows, looking for potential
victims danger. Every so often he does this little breathy “ggrrrruff” thing that lets me know he sees something. Eight times out of ten, I can’t figure out what he’s looking at.
Several nights ago, Louis wanted to go outside. So far, so normal. I opened the door, and I’m telling you, it all happened pretty quickly after that. Of course Louis had heard something out there; he often does, but it’s usually gone by the time I get the door open and have made some noise. This time it was still there! It was a possum, right next to the steps. There was a split-second delay – the time it took the three of us to realized that we were all there together. Louis recovered first. The possum was a close second, turning to run across the yard. I was a slow third. Louis tears after this thing and is on it before I can scream, “Louis, Louis, Louis!” at the top of my lungs like a deranged woman. My neighbors are too far away to see me, but I’m sure they could hear me.
By this time, Louis had nipped this thing in the rear end. He had gotten to it in a flash and actually put his mouth on it and nipped it. He had also kind of grabbed it with his front paws before he reacted to my bellowing. When he got grabbed, the possum curved his head back around toward Louis, and he probably would have bit back if Louis hadn’t let go. But thankfully Louis did stop, so the possum turned around and kept running. Of course, this takes longer to describe than happen. It was only a few seconds (by one-one-thousand measurement 🙂 ).
Afterwards, Louis stood there with his legs stiff and spread apart in that manly, “And don’t you forget it!” stance. When he came back to me, I fussed at him a little bit because it scared me. You know how you yell at your kids for running into the street because you’re scared? That thing could have taken a chunk out of Louis! I fussed at him and he was fully chastised, with his head down and his ears down. I went so far as to clean his mouth out with a paper towel – not because it would do any good, but because I’m crazy. That’s the sure way to kill possum-spread diseases – wipe them off with a paper towel. Anyway, it made me feel better. Now don’t you worry about Louis and his morale, even though he ducked his head when I scolded him. As soon as I was done, he was high prancing and walking tall. Well, tall for a little dog.
The next morning, he was sniffing around at the scene of the adventure. Ah, memories.
Here is a video of Louis and a couple of deer in the front yard. What amazes me is they’re just standing there, hanging out as it were. I don’t know if they can see us at the door or if the sun is reflecting off the glass, but they’re clearly aware they’re not alone. Still, they don’t go on alert until we go back outside. And I’m still surprised that Louis was originally just sitting out there watching them.
Sorry the camera is so shaky, but I was holding it in my hand and I had the zoom out as far as the optical zoom would go. Also, I reference a lizard at the end, but the video is not clear enough to see it here.
PS. The video lags a bit in the middle – I mean, how long do we need to look at those deer doing nothing? But I couldn’t break the song down any further without it being really noticeable. Don’t you just love CCR?
So tonight Louis was acting a little antsy and hanging around the door. Finally he whined a bit. I knew he didn’t need to go out, but he clearly wanted to. When I started to open the door, he tried to push past me before I even got it cracked. But I was prepared this time. Wouldn’t you know it – the flood light had been activated by the motion detector. How did Louis know? Does he smell something through the door? Can he hear them?
I made a lot of noise before we went out, just to be sure. I wish you could have seen Louis high stepping all over the yard. He was aching to see something that needed to be chased. Rat Terriers do this hopping, bouncing kind of run when they get really excited. He was doing a mini version of that, more like a trot, trot, hop. He was on full alert: head erect, stopping on stiffly straight legs, wide stance. Then make another pass. I’m just glad he didn’t find anything.