Vaya Con Dios, Little Critter

We’re still work­ing on Best Half’s new digs for her salon; I stopped by ear­ly this morn­ing on my way home from tak­ing Mom to the eye doc­tor to pick up some tools I need­ed and dis­cov­ered a pos­sum curled up sleep­ing on the side­walk in front of the door.


I thought “Aw, how cute!” for a sec­ond and took this pho­to, but then I thought “Wait, some­thing’s wrong here. Pos­sums don’t sleep out in the open like that. Is he dead?”

The lit­tle guy was alive; when I approached him he looked up and bared his teeth to look fierce, but he did­n’t try to run away or any­thing.

He was injured; there was a lit­tle blood around his mouth, his low­er jaw looked crooked and he shiv­ered vio­lent­ly when he looked up at me, then tucked his nose under his paws again.

I’d guess he was cross­ing the street last night and got clipped by a car. It was 12° F. out last night; the new salon has unoc­cu­pied units on either side, so I think since Best Half’s salon was the only one with heat, there was some warm air com­ing from under the door, and he curled up there to try to stay warm.

I called Ani­mal Con­trol; while I was wait­ing I squat­ted down a few feet away and tried to talk kind­ly to him—“Hang in there, bud­dy; help’s on the way”—but he kept try­ing to look up at me again and shift­ed around like he was try­ing to get up.

I was fright­en­ing him, so I got back in the car so I could keep an eye on him with­out him see­ing me and being scared. I thought about maybe putting my jack­et or some­thing over him to keep him warm, but decid­ed it would be too risky. Not for me, for the possum–if he tried to strug­gle or fight it could injure him more.

So I sat there and wait­ed. I got­ta say I felt like one rot­ten heart­less bas­tard sit­ting in my nice warm car, watch­ing him while he was freez­ing and in pain, and doing noth­ing.

The Ani­mal Con­trol offi­cer, bless her heart, showed up inside of 5 min­utes. I told her I hat­ed just sit­ting there and watch­ing him suf­fer, but I was reluc­tant to try to warm him up or any­thing because I did­n’t know if I’d just be mak­ing it worse. I felt like I need­ed to apol­o­gize to her and try to jus­ti­fy doing noth­ing to help.

She said no; you did exact­ly the right thing: try­ing to move him or put a blan­ket on him would have been dan­ger­ous to both of us (and injured ani­mals can be real­ly dan­ger­ous, but this poor lit­tle crit­ter was just about out of gas). She said when dis­patch told her I thought he was in pain and hypother­mic she hur­ried so he wouldn’t have to lay there and suf­fer any longer.

She coaxed him into a lit­tle ken­nel; he tried fee­bly to stand up or crawl out but could­n’t real­ly muster up any ener­gy.

Bless that AC offi­cer; I thought she’d need to ask me a bunch of ques­tions and fill out paper­work, but the minute the pos­sum was in the ken­nel, she was ready to go. She start­ed to go to the back of the truck where the built-in cages are installed, but said, “No; it’s too cold. You’re rid­ing with me.” And she set his lit­tle ken­nel on the front seat next to her.

The new salon isn’t open yet; the two oth­er store­fronts between the new salon and the restau­rant down at the end are unoc­cu­pied and the restau­rant doesn’t open till lunch time. Peo­ple enter­ing and exit­ing the restau­rant prob­a­bly wouldn’t have seen a fur­ry lit­tle bun­dle curled up by the door way down on the oth­er end.

If I had­n’t stopped there ear­ly this morn­ing I’m sure he would have died before much longer. So there’s that, I guess.

I said it was hard to feel good about help­ing when they’d just put him down, but she said that wasn’t a fore­gone con­clu­sion: She’d take him to a vet to see what could be done and maybe get him in rehab to heal him up and release him, so there’s some hope there.

I wish I’d got­ten her name so I could thank her and/or call the depart­ment to brag on her: She hus­tled to come res­cue the pos­sum and she was in a hur­ry when she left, so I think he did­n’t have to be in pain and cold for much longer.

Poor lit­tle crit­ter. What­ev­er they can or can’t do for him I know he’s not suf­fer­ing any more. Yeah, yeah; I know I did the right stuff but I want­ed to com­fort him and I want­ed to ask her if I could adopt him once they fixed him up, but pos­sums wouldn’t make good pets at all and try­ing to fos­ter one would be nuts.

Adult­ing real­ly sucks some­times.

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