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Here you will find information, musings, and pictures about zoos, the natural world, and writing. Welcome to the erratic thoughts of a zoo mystery author! See ZooMysteries.com for more photos and information about my books. Click here for cool sites about elephants and conservation organizations.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Zoo Keeper Never Forgets

 My spousal unit arranged tickets for a Lucinda Williams concert last night and we had a great time. Her encore was especially fine--covers of protest songs. I haven't heard Merle Haggard's "If We Make It Through December" in years. Brings a tear every time.

So this morning when he (the husband, not Merle) brought me coffee in bed, I smiled from my pillow with a special twinkle. But no. "Get up. There's a possum in the basement," he announced. "I've got a sign to paint down there. The customer's coming in two hours." He didn't quite wring his hands.

Ah, true love. Our contract is clear: he deals with dead animals, I cope with the live ones. "Go ahead and paint the sign," I said. "If it's on the other side of the basement, it won't attack." And I hauled my rear out of bed wishing we had some thick leather gloves and a catch pole. I drank the coffee, got dressed (opting for boots over sports shoes), and explored what the garage had to offer in the way of capture gear. It offered a five-gallon bucket.


As for how the possum got in--had to be the doggie door--and why our noble canine, Murphy The Hairy Little Dog, didn't deal? His attitude seems to be that he is a lap dog and a ball dog and if we have troubles with empty laps or escaping tennis balls, he's the pup for the  job. But interloping possums? He didn't even bark. I doubt he ever knew it was there. So much for keen senses and ancient instincts.

No one would accuse Didelphis virginiana of excessive competence, and this specimen was no exception. The teenage varmint sat hunkered down on the lid of our washing machine in a basement replete with dark hidey-holes. It could not have been  more conspicuous. It hissed at me. Again I wished for good gloves. But it just sat there as I clapped the bucket over its head, shoved a thin piece of plywood underneath, and carried it all out to the driveway. I turned the critter loose and it ran off to become someone else's problem. Husband cheered.


So take note, all of you who see my gray hair and wonder just how long it's been since I actually worked at a zoo. It's been awhile, I'll cop to that, but the skill set? Still in place, at least in part. And now I've got the evidence.