Well, last night’s evening walk with Stella took an interesting turn!
We almost didn’t go. We’d played a lot in the garden and my husband’s pains were plaguing him so we very nearly opted not to go on a walk yesterday. But, we felt bad so of course we got Stella in her leash and set off on our walk.
The evening was beautiful. The Sun was setting, but not at the point where it can still bake your skin, instead it was past that point so the air felt cool. I could hear children playing football (American or English, who knows) and it smelled both of spring flowers and wet freshly cut grass.
I was thoroughly glad we went on that walk.
We’d been walking for roughly five minutes, maybe a bit more, when I noticed a box drifting in the swampy area of the woodland. I always check boxes. I know, that sounds weird. But I’ve read too many stories of animals being dumped that I have an impulse to check just in case. Perhaps it’s the one place where having OCD can be a blessing.
It was last night, in any case.
I could just about spy that something was in the box. It was dipping into the water, half of it submerged by a weight I couldn’t yet see. I grabbed a huge stick and began leaning over the water to get hold of the box and pull it towards myself.
I could see something moving by this point. I was soon able to make out the shape of a possum and my husband yelled it’s alive as we saw what looked like a leg moving while its face was under the water of the flooded box.
Struggling, my husband took over and pulled the box out of the water. Inside was a possum, but sadly she had died. With her though, were three babies.
One had unfortunately gone to possum heaven with its momma, but the other two had climbed on top of their mother just enough to get out of the water. We could hear their little hissing, at which point I had no idea what it meant, and later cried when I learned it was them calling for their mom.
In fact later while showering I cried over the whole ordeal. She’d been killed, by a gunshot wound it looked. But that wasn’t enough. The murderer took her body, dumped it in a box with her still alive babies, and put it into the water for them to drown. At least, that is the story that makes the most sense from everything we saw. I can, of course, hope I’m wrong.
But back to seeing that two of the babies had survived.
We ran home, Stella running alongside us. The light was quickly fading and we knew that soon foxes and coyotes would be out. We grabbed some gloves, a cat carrier and headed back out the door, this time with the car.
Carefully we seperated the babies from their mother, placing them on the kitchen paper we’d placed on the bottom of the carrier. I listened to them crying the whole drive to walmart, and because I was ignorant at the time, I was wondering if these little babies were aggressive and their hissing was a prelude to an attack. Yes, I hang my head in shame, but I’m never too proud to admit when I’m wrong.
And we were wrong again. We followed advice online, first buying baby formula, then my husband rushing back into the store to buy puppy milk. Syringes, gloves, towels, a uh…. a turkey baster that I grabbed in a mad panic. I still can’t understand that one.
But we got them home and we got them fed. And then we fed them again, all through the night, every two hours. Me acting as a radiator for their poor chilled bodies (of course we had them wrapped up by now) and my husband trying to coax them into eating.
By the morning we were exhausted. I can’t express my appreciation for those who do this day in and day out, always caring for these orphaned and injured animals. And we found just that kind of person!
At first, while searching the previous night, I was scared. I was frightened I wouldn’t find anyone to rehabiliate the babies, every link coming to a dead end or a page no longer available. But then I found a phone number and upon calling it in the morning I breathed a huge sigh of relief to learn that yes, she was a wildlife rehabilitator, and yes, she would gladly take and care for the baby possums.
So there we have it. Two orphaned possums that we happened to cross paths with on a cool Spring night and the happy ending for them when we took them to the rehabilitator this morning.
We went back after dropping them off to look for the mother and her baby. They were where we had left them the previous night and we buried them together. I hope they’re at peace now.
So, that’s my possum story. I hope it’s my last, that I never have to see that again because no creature is subjected to that treatment. But, that’s wishful thinking. At least now I know there is a place to take them.
I hope you’ve had a wonderful day!