A Christmas Stray
During the recent cold weather, we had a visitor at the Carter house and he wasn’t wearing a red suit and white beard.
Early one morning as I stumbled into my home office to write this column, I saw some grey critter furtively scramble across the room in the dim light. It ran under a skirted table. I decided it couldn’t be a mouse (or even a rat) as it was too large. It’s hair was mussed, not slicked back like a rodent but it was missing the bushy tail of a squirrel. Also, it moved too slowly to be a rat, It didn’t dart but sort of walked fast.
It didn’t matter. I had a column to write, so I curled up in my rolling chair with my feet off the floor and, like Scarlet, said to myself, “I’ll deal with this tomorrow.”
Before leaving the house, I did tell Kathy, the exchange student from Germany. After all, she probably already thought she was in the wild west. I was very concerned that a critter running through the house might send her over the edge.
I was so glad I warned her. When I came home that afternoon and she told me that she had been watching TV in the loft outside her room when the “creature” came ambling in, looked at her, then went into the other bedroom. I’ve noticed before that she is a fast thinker (you have to be to live in my house). So she ran over and shut the door, trapping the critter in the guest bedroom.
I was so thankful that I had told her because I was sure that it would have really frightened her.
I looked up possums on the internet because that is what I suspected the animal was. Kathy looked at a picture and agreed.
I called the Wildlife and Rehabilitation center that I Googled and found they were only open certain hours of the day. I e-mailed them, then called them the next morning, They told me to throw a towel over the critter and bring it to them. “What,” I said, “I’m an old woman (I like to use that when it is convenient) and I can’t possible catch the animal and besides I have no cage to put him in.”
I was still in a quandary; then I had a thought. Since I pay such high water bills to the City of Sugar Land, and I know this has nothing to do with that, but I did think it was about time I got something back from the city of Sugar Land.
I called animal control.
They were a little hesitant and said they would come eventually. I promised them some publicity if they would come sooner than “eventually.”
Less than an hour later, a young man appeared at my door with a long pole and a loop on the end. I showed him the bedroom where the animal was trapped. He went in and came out several minutes later telling me the animal wasn’t in there.
“Oh yes it is,” I said, “Unless there is a hole in there and it went the way it came.”
I told the young man to pull out the trundle bed and see if the animal has secreted himself on top of that. The young man told me that animal control was not allowed to move any furniture. By this time I’m getting pretty frustrated with this organization I had promised some good publicity. “Am I going to have to write a critical article?” I asked myself. So I trudged up the stairs, and breathing heavily, pulled out the trundle bed.
Sure enough, a little grey possum was hiding on the trundle bed, bearing its teeth at us. The young man, clearly with no experience capturing small possums, tried to loop the possum which didn’t work. He then took off his jacket, preparing to throw it over the animal. I yelled at him to stop and get a towel from the bathroom next door while I sat on the floor with the trundle bed and the possum.
He threw the towel over the animal and put it in a cage he had thoughtfully brought along. He asked what I wanted to do with it, and I told him I would like him to take it to the backyard as its family probably missed him. He pointed out that he might come back into the house during the next cold spell. He suggested taking it to a park and turning it loose. He promised he would not kill it. I hope that little possum is really in a park. I remembered all the animals I told my children were living with a family in the country.
About a month later, I just happened to ask Kathy from Germany if her family had any pets. “Oh ya,” she said. “My sister has, a racing mouse.”
I was worried about Kathy’s response to a possum in the house and all the time, she was used to a mouse in the house! No wonder that girl was less excited than I about our visitor.
The Sugar Land Animal Control does do good work and they have a variety of pets to adopt. They try not to euthanize strays so they need good families to adopt the animals. Think about a shelter animal before buying some Christmas pet.
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