Playing Possum

It was a dark and stormy night. No really it was very dark and the rain was coming down in sheets. There was even some thunder. Our dog is not fond of running around in the rain and wind. Oh she’s always up for a walk; rain, snow, or sleet but the just going out into the backyard to take care of business in the rain is not her favorite thing. She will frequently lookup at me and sigh as if I had something to do with the sky being broken.

We always put her out for “last outs” right before we head to bed. She takes the chance to patrol the entire yard and take care of nature’s call after making sure the yard is secure. Then she will stand up on the deck and look out into the dark waiting for us to let her back in after we take care of our nightly absolutions. This is the routine that’s lasted for going on 9 years.

Our dog, Daisy, has several different barks. There is the Arrooroo bark which she does when we come home. It’s very sweet and accompanies lots of butt wiggles and happy snapping of teeth. There is the Bark!Bark!Bark! bark that basically means “Hey! Hey, there is someone at the door and I am going to eat their face”. There is the Woof! Bark that seems to mean “Who the fuck are you?” when we let someone in the house but she hasn’t seen us greet them yet. There is also the happy “OMG you got out the balloon and we are going to bounce it in the air and I can’t believe how awesome this is!!” bark which is also adorable but very loud. One other bark is a higher pitched alert bark that is somewhere between “Omg what in the hell? and Momma come quick!” in its meaning.

Now from those descriptions you might posit that my dog is aggressive and heroic in her defense of her people. That is so very not the case. Let me tell you how I know. Remember that dark and stormy night I started off with? Well that’s where that last bark comes in.

So there we are mostly ready for bed. The power had flickered at least once because of the storm so I had my big ass maglight handy in case we for sure lost power. It doesn’t happen often but its best to be prepared rather than searching for the damn thing in the dark. The rain seemed to pick up again. We could hear it drumming on the roof. That’s when Daisy started going bug nutz with her high pitched alert bark. (this dog would not survive the zombie apocalypse. She doesn’t know how to be quiet.) She’s freaking out. Racing up to the back door and then bounding back off the porch and out into the dark back yard near some bushes, making the circuit over and over again.

I was thinking great what the hell now? Has she cornered some kid that was coming to steal our metal recycling again? Or a chicken from next door? I couldn’t hear any clucking or screeching so it wasn’t one of the neighbors checkings getting loose in our yard again. Whatever it was I was thinking it’s dangerous by her behavior. Maybe a raccoon? A stray cat would have gotten out of dodge fast. Whatever it was still seemed to be in the yard. I quickly put on sweats and shoes. Then I grabbed the baseball bat and big ass maglight. I would blind the culprit at the very least.

I was pretty keyed up ready to kick butt and take names. I slammed open the back door and headed out into the downpour. Holy shit it was raining hard. My cotton shirt was soaked by the time I made it off the porch. The sweat pants were soaked through before I made it to the middle of the yard. All this time the dog is running from me to the bushes barking her head off.

I got to about 10 feet from the bushes and the dog is still barking but now I now realize she’s barking from behind me occasionally making small darts forward but not more than a body length ahead of me. Then she would look up and me and bark once before circling back behind me to come around on the other side of me and bark at the bushes again. I crept forward, the blinding beam of my mag light reflecting every water droplet in the air making it almost as hard to see as if there was no light at all. The bush just looked like a bush. I couldn’t see anything to cause all this barking. I tried listening but with the dog barking and the rain pounding down I couldn’t hear anything out of the ordinary.

I was now wet, uncomfortable and thinking my dog might be insane. That there was nothing out here when I noticed what I at first thought was the biggest rat tail I’d ever seen near the base of the bush. I bent down and looked a little closer. There crouched miserably in the sticks and leaves was a harassed looking possum. Its fur stuck out in wet wiry clumps at all angles as it opened its mouth and I assumed hissed at me. I couldn’t hear it because the damn dog was still barking. I looked back at her and realized she had retreated to mid yard. Great guard she was.

Disgusted I stood back up and sloshed my way back to the house, grabbing her collar when I reached her and hauling her in with me. The wife provided towels for both of us. Daisy hopped and prance around like she’d killed a dragon. Our protector…from 10 feet behind us.