Eat Mo’ Possum, Not for the Squeamish, and Things Dogs Do

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?

Welcome to the Private Cougar Pool, Living With Other Humans, and Related Aggravation

Of course my private cougar pool won’t be this nice, (like I can afford that) but the key word is private, as in capacity: one old cougar, namely me. 

I had contemplated actually either getting a summer pool membership or joining the “Y” again, but when I saw the newspaper article saying that more and more people are buying pool memberships and staying home rather than going on vacations, I decided the only redneck stay-cation option for me was one of those small backyard pools. It’s 10′ in diameter and 30″ deep- nothing huge, and sadly, no diving board, but it’s enough for one old cougar in a floatie chair.   It would really torque me if I paid big bucks to either join the “Y” or get a pool membership, and then discover the pools to be  continually overrun with loud and rowdy rugrats to the point of it being more aggravating to go to the pool than to stay home.   The redneck backyard pool was cheaper than a pool membership,  there will be no screaming kids, and the most delicious part- it’s private.

I am a bit concerned about Jerry.  I’m always concerned about him because of his fragile emotional state, his taste for Natty Lites, and his remarkable ability to screw things up.  I’m almost confident it will piss him off to have a pool on the patio- because it’s not specifically for him.  There’s no fish in it, and it’s too small to fit a boat in it.  Jerry’s interests in water activities end with fishing and boating, so I doubt he will show much interest other than to complain about it.   I don’t mind if he wants to use it, (I don’t see it happening,)  but I do worry about two things if he does.  One, I don’t want him earning his Darwin Award by getting shitfaced and drowning in a 2 ft. pool, (imagine that featured on 1,000 Ways to Die,) and two, I don’t want him destroying it in one way or another- pissing in it, somehow cutting it, draining it or otherwise mutilating it.  One of the benefits of having a private pool is being able to keep out things you don’t want in it, such as piss, dirt, grass pieces, bugs, and shitfaced drunks.

My major concern of course is that no matter where I put the pool- whether I decide to put it in the yard, or on the patio which is closer to the electrical plug where I will need to plug in the filter and pump- he’s not going to like it.  He will whine about me using the patio even though all that’s on it right now is the grill (can be moved to the other side) and a crappy old table that needs to be thrown away anyway.  The patio is probably the best option because it won’t kill his precious grass or take up any dog-shitting area from the girls.  But knowing Jerry, if I put it on the patio, he will ask why I didn’t put it in the grass, and if I put it in the grass he will ask why I didn’t put it on the patio.  When we first moved in there was an old hot tub on the patio that was about the same size as the pool, so I know it will fit and it should work very well there.  There’s also more shade on the patio, so my super-white carcass won’t have to be exposed to too much sun.  I’ll still need the Factor 50, but I need that just to step outside in high summer anyway.

Sometimes it is better to ask forgiveness than to beg for permission.  This is one of those times.   The pool’s not moving once it’s filled up.  He will be in Lancaster this weekend, so if the pool arrives on time, this should be perfect timing for me to power-clean the patio, and get my redneck getaway underway.

Part of the problem of communal living is that other people do gross things that they don’t think are gross, but that in reality, are positively disgusting.  I gave up on bar soap many years ago for this reason, (few things are nastier than bathing with other people’s stray body hair) and that is a major advantage of body wash and/or liquid hand soap.  No one else has been fingering the body wash or the liquid hand soap, and there are no curlies in it.  Jerry can leave as many curlies as he wants hopelessly embedded in the surface of the soap bar, because it’s his soap.  I’m not using it, so it’s OK!

Maybe the thing with stray human hair bothers me because I am not a big fan of excessive body hair to begin with, and there’s just something gross about the thought of washing with someone else’s pubes.  It’s just counterintuitive.  I’ve washed, but with something that used to be attached to someone’s balls. Why bother washing if you’re just washing in used ball hair?    Then again, I could be becoming my mother and getting her OCD, but I doubt it, because OCDers can not stand to be around dogs because of the risk of getting dog hair on them.   I think Mom went nuts with the lint-grabber for an hour after spending less than five minutes with Sheena.  Granted, Sheena’s white hair against a background of black pants is not a flattering look.  Even so, dog hair doesn’t really phase me that much.  Dogs come with hair, and that’s just part of the reality.   It’s wicked to get dog hair out of the car, off my clothes and worst of all off the floor- my adventures with poorly sucking vacuum cleaners are both legendary and frequent, but compared with the aggravation and mess of living with fellow humans, dog hair is a really minor issue. 

Speaking of vacuum cleaners, Jerry thought he got a really good one when he got an ancient, but barely used, Hoover upright at an estate sale.  It works great- when it works- but the last time I tried to vacuum with it I ended up breaking two belts and pissing myself off enough to go back to using the other one which by some miracle has lasted two and a half years.  I have to constantly pull it apart and unclog it, but I think that’s going to happen regardless of what kind of vacuum cleaner I try. 

The vacuum cleaner is the only thing I can think of that sucks when it doesn’t suck.

I can also see myself if I live to be old- surrounded by dogs and cats.  Aunt Frances didn’t care much for people either, (except for maybe Jimmy Swaggart,) but she had thirty-odd cats in and out of her house at any given time.  I don’t think she liked dogs either, so for her it was just cats until she broke her hip and ended up in the nursing home.  That was actually sad, because then all she had to look forward to was Jimmy Swaggart. 

I think I’d much rather have had the cats.