We’ve had a harsh winter storm crash into our little town.
So you know what that means. (Other than school getting cancelled, Yippee!!) It means the outside dogs who are never allowed in the house because they drive me crazy, are now in the house with me.
As I was giving them their potty break earlier, I was reminded of a snowstorm last spring that traumatized me and nearly forced me into counseling.
These are the events that transpired April 2009.
Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, so help you God?
Can you tell us what you witnessed last April Mrs. Wheeler?
It had snowed throughout the night. The morning was beautiful, still, and crisp. The sun radiantly shone through the newly budding trees. Sparkles glinted on the snow. I hesitated letting the dogs out to demolish the glorious canvas left from the springtime snow.
Rather than clean up their, you know, I memorized the portrait before my eyes and opened the door.
They bounded out, kicking up snow, sticking their noses in, rooting around, and turning it yellow.
It’s a dog’s life.
When I noticed our big dog Drew taking particular interest in the little wooden porch that we have around an out building. Ears up, tail wagging, he began sniffing under the porch, peeking under the porch, whimpering, and running from one end to the other, trying to fit his fat dog butt underneath. It was obvious there was a little critter hiding. Aw, he wanted to play. A squirrel more than likely would run out any minute and scamper up a tree.
What started as casual curiousity for Drew, soon became a frenzy. He was relentless. He would not settle with just knowing there was something under there. He began to dig like he was on crack cocaine. Throwing snow and then mud behind him. I began to scream at him for tearing up the yard.
Because he is the most obedient dog in the world, he completely ignored me and dug faster, deeper, and harder. Then as quick as a wink, he dove his fat head underneath the wooden porch and pulled this ginormous rat creature out. He started to thrash his head about, shaking it violently, biting it, as it’s long tail hung to the ground.
Go on. Take your time.
I panicked. I was not prepared for this. I couldn’t watch. I covered my eyes. I retreated to the house. Fight or flight? I think I’ll take flight thanks. I was thinking he would surely quit. But he continued to shake his victim. It became limp in his mouth. He would then drop it, then drag it around the yard. Then pick it up again, biting its fleshy middle. I watched from the window as blood covered his white neck and mouth and began to mix with the mud and the snow. Puffs of hot dog breath rose in the cold morning air as he stood over this dead and soon to be mangled possum. I just couldn’t take it any longer. Enough is enough. Killing it is one thing, playing with it is entirely another. And if he started eating it, I was going to throw up.
Still in pajamas, purple bathrobe, and furry snowboots, I threw the door open, stormed out, grabbed a shovel that was leaning against the house and ran towards him, my shrill screams breaking the silent morning. I had become the hunter now, and he the hunted. Seeing the shovel raised, the crazed look in my eyes, and my bed head, he quickly decided his playtime was over. He dropped the possum and backed off.
Have you had experiences with possums before?
I must tell you, I’m not a stranger to dead possums. I’ve shoveled many a dead possum (never bloody) into the dumpster after my old dog would kill them. This was not an unfamiliar task for me.
But Drew did not like me shoveling his fresh kill. He kept trying to take it from me. He was hampering my progress. I couldn’t put him back in the house with his muddy, wet paws and bloody muzzle so I had no choice but to lock him up while I disposed of the varmint.
Were you able to dispose of the corpse?
I tried, but I couldn’t get it on the shovel. It was like a ragdoll. A warm ragdoll. It may have helped if I would have watched what I was doing, but my head was turned and my eyes were squeezed shut the whole time. I ended up scooting it across the yard 4 or 5 feet leaving a trail of blood. Defeated, I put a bucket over it and left it for my manly husband.
The pretty snow was no longer. My backyard was now a battlefield.
Traumatized and scarred, I returned to the house and put it all behind me. It was over.
Or so I thought.
And then what happened?
Days passed. The snow melted quickly. Springtime advanced. Then on Saturday, while playing in the backyard, my niece wandered across two hairless baby possums, yet to open their eyes, lying under a tree almost side by side. The tree where the possum had lain with a bucket over her. They each were no bigger than a jalapeno pepper. Feeling compassionate, and since they didn’t require a very deep hole, we gave them a proper burial, unlike their mother who was rotting in the dumpster. Ashlynn made a memorial headstone from a brick and decorated a rock in their honor.
I was disturbed once again by this. I pondered it, and then I googled it. I learned a few things that day. Possums are marsupials. They have a pouch that their babies stay in. I pondered more, and am led to believe that on that snowy day in April, those two little babies were in their mama’s pouch during her murder. Mama possum’s only defense was playing dead. Did she think of her babies in her last moments? Realizing their mama was dead, the newborns attempted survival by crawling out, only to die later. Whether by starvation or freezing, we’ll never know. What a cruel, cruel world.
After hearing the testimony and based on the evidence, it leaves me no choice, but to find the defendent guilty as charged, to be sentenced to an undetermined amount of time behind bars.
May God Have Mercy On Your Soul.
Drew (left) guilty of possum murder, Grace (right) guilty by association.
The defendent, Drew Miller and his accomplice Grace, have since been released for time served and good behavior. The possum graveyard remains in tact. Mrs. Wheeler is recovering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and relives this tragic event at every snowfall.