Opossums really do play dead

Our dog, Abby, is a fence climber. Has been for nearly as long as we’ve had her. It’s really something to watch. She puts her front paws up on the top of the fence and then climbs on up with her back paws. And she’s fast. Very fast.

Take this morning for example. I stumble out of bed, grab my robe from the closet, and walk down the hall while trying not to be knocked over by the dogs.  They are desperate to get outside after a night with no access to anywhere safe to pee. Abby usually tries to jump on me and knock me down while Dascha walks slowly, weaving between my feet. It’s not a pleasant way to begin the day but it’s become tradition, what can you do?

So, I shove Abby’s nose out of the way and open the doggie door. She doesn’t even look around. She finds the 6 inch space of fence with no roller bar on it and climbs over. Before I can even figure out what’s going on, she’s gone. Out I go, onto the patio in bare feet, to the gate. Usually, I whistle and Abby comes back but not this morning. I open the gate and walk around to the front of the house to find Abby sort of bouncing up and down near our neighbor’s shrubs. I call her and she ignores me. I call her again, a little more forcefully. You know, using my Big Voice. Lisa & Steph got to hear my Big Voice when I used it on Micah this weekend. They were impressed.

Anyway, Abby finally moves away from the shrub and she’s got some big, furry chew toy in her mouth. Oh wait, it has a tail. And a head. I continue to call her and tell her to drop it. I know what it is immediately. We’ve had a baby opossum living in the trees lining our yard since mid-last year. It was so cute! Well, now it’s big and not nearly as cute but I still don’t want her to tear it to bits. Especially not while I’m watching. Although it would still be better than the one Dascha ripped up in the dining room last year. But that’s another story.

Abby decides that I mean business and drops the opossum on the front lawn. I couldn’t help myself and took a good look at it. It truly looked dead. Eyes half shut, mouth wide open, not breathing, it was interesting. I wanted to watch it for awhile longer but figured that wasn’t a good idea since it has a mouthful of very sharp looking teeth. Besides Abby still wanted to play with it. I took her around to the back yard and locked her butt in the house.

As soon as I shut the doggie door, I went over to see if it was still on the lawn. It wasn’t. That thing hauled ass! It didn’t appear that Abby had a very tight grip on it and I didn’t see her shake her head violently so I assume it’s alright. Guess I’ll know for sure the next time I see it walking around in our neighbor’s yard. Or the next time Abby catches it.


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