Aww…look at that cutie-patootie. That’s my boy, once he stopped scratching his back on the grass just a few days ago. He looked up at me like “what are you doing with that phone?” Then he just started panting and wagging that tail.
Well, I got home late and the pups really needed to go outside and potty. So, I took “blondie” out on his leash as my heeler ran down the steps. My heeler was running around like crazy, as if some scent got her going. This retriever-mix, though, was itching to go, too, but curbed it a bit til he got to the tether line near a big birch tree. I clipped him to it and he was happily running around and peeing and doing his thing.
Then, he just went nuts.
I had the short leash with me and a small flashlight. My heeler was still running around and around trying to pick up a scent or something and this retriever just went bouncing around, trying to climb the tree he was near, jumping up and down and all.
I figured he’d heard a squirrel go up there or something, but nope…something further down the trunk caught his attention.
Around the tree are a few of those “junk” trees, the Chinese tallows. And when my flashlight hit the trunk I saw some eyes staring out. Well, at first I thought it was a small owl that was going to perch there, but then realized that thing would’ve flown off or made noise, considering how the dog was carrying on.
Nope, it was a possum, probably a foot long not counting the tail. I started yelling at blondie to knock it off and leave it alone. He was jumping up and down, trying to get to it. It was maybe seven feet off the ground, and I knew that dog wasn’t going to give up. I was trying to get to blondie so I could clip him with the short leash and pull him away from the trees.
Well, then he figured out the tree was springy. He started jumping on the smaller trees, bending them and hoping to dislodge that poor possum.
I couldn’t get any closer because I was afraid if I got under it, the possum would fall or jump on me! I was yelling and yelling at the damn dog to knock it off, trying to get closer.
My heeler was a distance away wondering what the hell was going on. When I tried to get her to back off, I noticed blondie had stopped jumping and was now frantically shaking his head back and forth.
I saw the gray in it’s mouth and really started shrieking at the dog. I at first thought the possum had jumped on the dog, but realized that the dog was killing it.
I had no idea what the hell to do.
But you probably figured that out.
I just kept yelling and trying to get blondie to drop the possum.
He shook it a few more times, then kinda stepped back. It was creepy to see a bit of blood on his tongue, and he went down to it again.
I got closer and really stepped up the yelling and pointed with my flashlight to him, trying to get his attention. I didn’t wanna see the possum at that moment, and just wanted to get blondie away from it.
And didn’t want blondie to notice that the poor thing was still breathing. I didn’t want him to shake it again and maybe start eating it.
And I didn’t want my heeler figuring out what blondie had caught and fighting him over the animal.
Thinking about it now, I noticed that after the dog had dropped the possum, he seemed a little hesitant, like he didn’t know what he was supposed to do with it afterwards. That hesitation let me clip him with the leash and get him away from it a bit. About a foot, but beyond that, he wouldn’t budge. After a minute of demanding (he was panting up a storm after all that frantic jumping and movement), I finally scooped up the damned dog and carried him to my back door.
My heeler had been watching all this and kept her head down, as if she was trying not to get into trouble.
It took doing to get blondie in the house after going up those steps. I couldn’t carry it up with me without breaking my ankle because of the leash line, and it took a couple minutes for him to finally go up them himself.
I can only hope it was playing dead and just looked more hurt than it really was… or if it was dying, that some other animal will come along and take care of it before the dogs go back out in the morning.
I couldn’t help my reaction. Oddly enough, on the way home I was listening to a podcast episode about how human beings with different afterlife concepts approach death and dying…and then this happened. Nature, even when you think it’s relatively tame, can be damned cruel…but then again, this is instinct we’re talking about here. The dog found prey and went for the kill.
Hell, they chase squirrels all the time.
But I have to admit I’ve never worried about them killing one, because when it comes down to it, it would have to be a super young or super old and weak–ass squirrel for them to actually catch one. The neighbor’s cat has caught and killed squirrels, but my dogs haven’t. Any dead things have been killed by other animals (and then my heeler usually rolls around in it and I have to give her a b-a-t-h.
I’ve just never seen a dog do that before. I can understand the instincts to a degree, and definitely the method for killing, using those neck muscles to do the most damage by shaking the hell out of it. I suppose it’s seeing the violence of it, by flashlight, knowing the dog won’t listen and could get hurt, that really hit me.
I was upset when I let them in the house. Blondie ended up on the floor just panting away for about ten minutes while I tried to calm myself down. I’m so freaked out that I doubt I’ll get much sleep tonight.
And definitely not getting a doggy kiss from blondie. No way. Probably not for a long damned time.
I’d give him a dental chew, but I’m afraid he might take that as a job well done…guess I’ll have to wait til morning.
One thing wasn’t going to wait, though. I had to check him out. It looked like he was just fine, no scrapes or bites that I could see. Glad I got him a rabies booster a couple months ago.
But I made sure to check him more thoroughly in the tub. I was putting towels in the bathroom and prepping and when I stuck my head around the corner. My heeler looked at me and headed for her own cage to lay down. She knows what my prep-work looks like and figured she wasn’t going to have to take a b-a-t-h tonight, no sirree.
But she wasn’t stinking and gross, or made me think of stinking and gross like he did. I had to put another leash on blondie and get him into the bathroom and into the tub.
Yeah, he doesn’t like baths. He is so much less fluffy than usual and doesn’t like the wet. I guess I can understand that, and I try to help him dry off, but he’s so furry. I wanted to make sure he didn’t have blood all over his paws, claws, anything like that. He looked okay.
Well, except for being buried in the green towels on my couch to dry him off and keep him warm. He looks like a moping burrito.
My heeler came out to join me on the couch once she realized she wasn’t getting a b-a-t-h too. So, we’re all here now, a bit calmer, but wow…what a night.
And I sure hope that the possum’s gone when I get out there in the morning. I’ll get up extra early and check, and if it’s not, I’m gonna go get a shovel and scoop it up to put on the top of the burnpile where these dogs can’t get to it.
But with all the wandering dogs in this neighborhood and some birds of prey, I might not have to worry about these two trying to finish off whatever’s left in the morning.
I knew there was something weird about today, but yikes!
At least he smells cleaner, even if he looks miserable right now.
And I REALLY don’t want that possum to still be there in the morning…
3 thoughts on “My Dog Just Killed a Possum. Scared the Hell Out of Me!”
My Dad’s last dog, Hector, was a Mountain Feist. a common breed here in the Southern Appalachians with a history as hunters back to colonial times. He never caught a possum, but did tree a raccoon once (The Raccoon took the branches to another tree outside the fence.) and could be loud and ferocious sounding enough to run off a bear (Luckily, he never caught one.) and he dug deep for chipmunks without success.
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UPDATE: yes, the possum was gone this morning. Went out with a flashlight about 6 am and checked all over the area. Guess it was playing possum, because I’m sure another dog would’ve left a torn, messy trail. Not a hint of blood on the grass that I could tell, either. Whew!
What an adventure/misadventure for the dogs and you.
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