Our friendly neighborhood possum was back last night. And this time he introduced himself to Cooper.
D and I were in the kitchen when Cooper started going ballistic at the back door. Cooper barking maniacally is not all that uncommon (gotta LOVE the beagle bark) but it usually happens at the front door when the mailman comes. (Cooper evidently does not comprehend the idea that the mailman is a public servant and we pay taxes so he will bring our mail. Instead he is quite sure that the mailman is trying to break into our house via the mailbox in order to murder me and steal Cooper's food sources. At least that is how Cooper reacts. He also looks very smug each day when the mailman decides not to try to carry out his wicked plan and instead to go on delivering mail.)
D was drying dishes and I was on my laptop trying to see if my friend Ben's flight was delayed again as I had to pick him up at the airport later. So D walked to the backdoor, said "What is it, Coop?" and, not seeing anything, opened the door.
Well, he quickly discovered that "it" was that nasty ol' possum, venturing up onto our deck. No doubt perfecting the use of his opposable thumb in order to shimmy up our deck railing and open the backdoor (thank you, Brandon, for putting that fear into my head).
So Cooper chases the possum off the deck and over to the side of the house by the bbq grill. D follows Cooper, brandishing the soup ladel he had been drying and was still carrying. At some point, he threw down the ladel (I retrieved it off the deck this morning) and picked up a snow shovel. He used this to push Cooper away from the possom, which was cornered and hissing beside the bbq grill.
I went outside with a treat to lure Cooper away from the possum and back in the house. D, still guarding the possom with the snow shovel, looked at me frantically and said, "Do you want me to kill it?"
WHAT??? OMG! No I don't want you to kill it! And how were you planning to kill it? Beat the poor thing to death with a snow shovel?
The possum was still hissing and I'm sure it was terrified. As I explained to D, while staring at him like the murderer he had just offered to be, I don't want it DEAD, I want it to LEAVE our yard. But I found it totally disturbing that D actually asked me that. I think he was just caught up in the heat of the moment. Later I was like, "Um, did you want to kill that poor possum?" He said no, that he really had no plan. He just felt like he should ask me.
I think that he must have felt some kind of primitive instinct just like Cooper does: it is the duty of dogs and men to protect their territory from crazed mailmen and loitering possums.
As I did not want him to bludgeon it to death with our snow shovel, and he was not agreeable to my suggestion (fashion a cage, lure possum inside, and gently but firmly relocate the possum in Forest Park), we decided to just leave it alone. We came inside and stood at the back door, watching that saucy little possum saunter back up across the deck before it moseyed across the yard to return to his cozy little home under the shed.
I know people say possums have terrible eyesight, but I swear that that damn thing stopped about halfway down the sidewalk between the deck and the shed, just after our garage's motion light flickered on. He looked back over his shoulder, and made eye contact with me, before scornfully turning around and continuing on his way, swishing his huge long rat-tail.
Cooper, good guard dog that he is, kept his post at the backdoor for a long time last night. He even sacrificed some couch time watching The Office with us to sit back there and stare into the dark backyard. No further sign of the possum, so he joined us for 30 Rock.
And so the possum remains. Comforable under the shed. Snoozing. Chillaxing. Flexing his opposable thumbs and waiting for the perfect time to venture back up onto the deck.