It’s 5AM. Do you know where your possum is?
It’s Sheena and Lilo’s before breakfast snack!
Of course, Sheena and Lilo were not this tactful in their preparation, and they didn’t even get around to cooking or plating their unfortunate marsupial morsel. (Apparently in Australia, possum is considered a meat entree, much to my surprise.) They were playing tug-of-war with it and were at the point where the guts squirt out, almost at the point where the head pops off (Clara and Lilo have done this before) when I opened the door to call the dogs in.
Nice. I get to distract Sheena and herd her away from her kill (Lilo will drop it, and Clara knows better than to butt in on another dog’s kill, but Sheena…Sheena is Sheena) and then I get to go get a flashlight and a shovel and at least toss the possum remnants and guts over the fence, all before most people ever get out of bed.
The worst thing about Sheena killing stuff other than I have no idea how she does it, is that blood shows up really dramatically on her white coat. She came in looking worse than Cujo, covered in possum blood. Perhaps her killing method somehow involves severing the carotid artery or jugular vein rather than just snapping the unfortunate critter’s neck like a normal dog. I am really surprised Sheena is capable of a bloody kill- considering that her canine teeth are nothing more than little stubs. Now it could have been that Lilo (whose canine teeth are quite long and sharp) made the kill and she and Sheena were fighting over it, but Lilo is generally an ambush predator. When she and Clara tag team, Lilo flushes the critter out while Clara generally makes the kill- like a normal dog- she grabs hold and snaps their necks.
Or it just could have been that the artery was severed as they were trying to pull the unfortunate vermin apart.
Regardless of the method employed I had both a bloody dog (I checked for punctures and discovered it was not Sheena’s own blood) and a mess of possum pieces to clean up. Acck.
It’s a good thing I am not easily nauseated. I came close to getting a little grossed out when some of the guts stuck to the shovel and I had to scrape them off. That’s one reason why I like to take the girls’ kills away from them before they have a chance to eviscerate them. It’s less messy if there’s only one piece. The other reason, of course, is because Lord only knows what kinds of bacteria and parasites- or even rabies- might be hiding out in a dead critter. The girls are all current on their rabies shots, and they are all on a worming med, (Heartgard and other products that contain Ivermectin protect against all kinds of internal parasites, not just heartworm) but I still don’t think it prudent for them to be munching about on wild critters. That possum probably lived its whole life eating out of the dumpsters at the Drunk and Domestics or out of the City BBQ dumpster, but who knows for sure where it’s been?
Don’t let her fluffy white cuteness and dental issues fool you: Bad teeth and abysmal coordination aside, Sheena is a killer. So far, one possum, one squirrel, and one (possible) blue jay. I still think the blue jay was already dead and she just decided the wings might be be tasty, since the jay wasn’t using them anymore, but Jerry insists that somehow Sheena must have grown her own wings and killed the jay herself.
Dogs, like human children, can do some pretty gross things. Kayla, our lovely GSD who lived to be almost sixteen, used to adore rolling in dead things. There are few things nastier than 95# of dog that smells like carrion rolling about on the carpet. Her love of all things dead and rotting was probably Kayla’s worst vice. Thankfully, she didn’t mind a bath and would even raise her paws one at a time so we could get in between her toes and pads.
Clara and Lilo have had their moments of eviscerating critters- usually squirrels- which can be disturbing, but they will drop it on command. Sheena, not so much. Once Sheena gets on to something like that she is not satisfied until it is scattered everywhere. When she killed the squirrel, I had to get it from her by squirting her in the face with water and grabbing the squirrel with welding gloves so I could toss its sorry carcass over the fence.
I still have to wonder about eating possum. I have been known to eat rabbits and squirrels (both tasty) but I’ve not tried possum. I certainly don’t want it after Sheena has gummed it to death. That possum was pretty large to boot. If I had to guess from the size of the pieces and the volume of guts it was probably the size of a very large cat.
Possum… the other white meat?