Milton has been barking for a solid ten minutes. I yell at him from the window, but he doesn't stop. I'm still wet from my shower and NOT IN THE MOOD when I come blazing out the door determined to show him just who is the assertive pack leader around here, thank you very much Cesar Milan.
Milton is a soggy mess of mud and dew. But he's never been happier. There's a spark in his eye, nay, a veritable spring in his step. He leads me here:
He jumps in. There is hissing, growling, scuffling. Milton yelps and I scream. He comes to me and says, Madam, compose thyself! For this very moment in time, I was created.
Every time Milton speaks, he uses King James English.
But I won't let him back into the bushes. I yell for Matt.
This is the part where I tell you I am not an outdoors girl. I'm the girl who stayed indoors for entire summers so she could read the complete Anne of Green Gables series. A house with a backyard is about as country as I get.
But not only this. An entire family of Oppossums. Or Possums. Disgusting, disease carrying rodents is what I call 'em.
And also, rodents protected by federal law. This is what Animal Control tells me when I call them. And I'm all: what? I can't shoot these things?
Not unless I want to go to jail.
They don't bite and they don't carry diseases, the guy tells me.
Rrrrriiiiiiight. These are hygienic little [o]possums who wash their paws with antibacterial soap.
He tells me to make the environment inhospitable and the [o]possums will go away by themselves.
Well, I know how to make the environment inhospitable and it includes a .22 caliber rifle.
But I live in California, see. And in California, we don't believe in guns. We don't even let our little boys play with pretend guns. We say "use your words, instead." To which my little boys say: OK. Bang, you're dead!
Unfortunately, bang-you're-dead doesn't work on rodents. It appears I must embrace my inner tree-hugger. Plus, my kids are telling me "awwww look at 'em! They're so cuuuuute!"
The next day possum babies start dropping out of trees and emerging from bushes. Somehow, we manage to corral the one of the frightened babies into a cardboard box. Awhile later, the doorbell rings and it's Animal Control. One of our neighbors spotted the momma limping away and the guy tells me she's dying, she's abandoned her babies. Even Matt has gone soft and is feeling bad for the ugly momma and her orphaned babies.
I repent of my evil, kill-em-all ways. I take pity on the beasts and give them some bread.
The Animal Control guy takes the baby, assuring me it's old enough to survive on its own. Later, another baby shows up. Matt captures it and takes it to the park.
I don't know how long this will go on and we still haven't found the dying mama. Until then I'm giving Milton lots of treats and telling him what a good, good dog he is for finding the possums.
He didn't kill them, but I don't blame him anymore. I wanted to shoot them myself, but even I changed my ways.
Next thing you know, I'll be joining PETA and voting Democrat.