Tale of Tails: Tino & the Critters
I have so many stories about Tino and one kind of critter or another – enough to fill a book. There’s:
- Tino & the rabbits – so many of those, at least a monthly story about rabbits
- Tino & the gophers
- Tino & the possum
- Tino & the skunk
- Tino & the coyotes (too many of these stories!)
- Tino & the bird
- Tino & the squirrels
- Tino & the lizards
- Tino & the deer
You get the idea.
Today I’m going to write about one of my favorites. Tino & the possum. This happened after Tino was blind, and maybe about 11 years old. It was early one morning and I was getting ready to take the dogs out for their walk. Tino was out in the back yard, but didn’t come in when I called for him. I look out back and he’s way in the back under the big row of bushes along the back of the property. I could tell he was digging or burying something.
(Tino rarely used his feet to bury things – he used his nose. I think this was because as a youngster, before we rescued him, he had a very bad injury to his back left leg and couldn’t stand on it – he couldn’t dig like a normal dog very well – he adapted and used his nose – not very effective, but good enough).
I go out to see what he’s got – figuring it’s a rabbit as we had lots of them in the yard. But I get out there and see yes, it’s an animal, but it’s much bigger than a rabbit – it’s a possum. And Tino is burying it in the back yard. After getting over my initial horror, I grab Tino and bring him inside. I know I have to do something with the carcass since I can’t leave it in the backyard. Steve has left for work, so it’s up to me.
I grab a shovel & the garden cart and go pick up this possum with the shovel – and believe me it was heavy, probably a good 12-15lbs. of dead weight, put it in the garden cart and lug it over to the trash barrels and dispose of it. It was pretty gross.
TIno, meanwhile is back out in the yard combing every inch of where the possum lay wondering what happened to his wonderful find. (Remember, he’s blind).
Later that day, purely by coincidence our exterminator comes by. We have regular treatments as we live in such a rural area with so many fruit trees we tend to get a lot of unwanted critters. I ask him to take the possum out of the trash and take it with him.
A moment later I hear a yell and a stream of cursing. I rush out to the side of the house and the exterminator is cursing at the trash can and says “I thought that critter was dead – he about jumped out of the pail and bit me!!!”
That’s when it dawned on me…it was a possum, it wasn’t really dead, it was ‘playing dead’ just like possums do. We had a pretty good laugh once we got over the initial shock and he wheeled the trash can out and down the road and let the possum free in the open space at the end of the street. I saw him waddle off and could not believe I had stood over it and picked it up with a shovel to put it into the trash! I still get the willies just thinking about it now!
And at the source of the story…Tino, of course Tino.
What critters have your pets gotten into?