How’s your Friday going? I mean, it’s practically over now but it could get better…or worse? I don’t know what I’m rambling on about and I’ll just cut to the chase and tell you about my Friday because my Friday culminated in a baby opossum rescue.
Today started off as any other day in recent times. Though I have found that by Fridays my zest for “homeschooling” has faded and I find myself letting the girls watch TV and play on their tablets while feeding them pizza bagels for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So, by 2:00 this afternoon I was ready for a nap (obviously, I had really given my all at this point in the day) and sent the girls outside to play. Not but a few minutes later and they came running in excitedly telling me that the dogs had found an animal in the yard. For a split second I was irritated that my nap had been interrupted but they sounded serious so I got up to see what the fuss was about.
If I had really been paying attention I would have heard Gus the ol’ hound dog barking his head off. In my defense he’s been known to wander into a thick brush and just stand there barking. We’re never sure if he’s barking at something or barking because he doesn’t know how to get out. In other words, I’ve learned to tune him out. Axel doesn’t really bark because his breed is meant to be a bit more stealthy and so between the two dogs they make quite the pair with Gus barking his head off and Axel just standing there with one paw slightly raised in a very lackadaisical point. It should be stated that at no point in time have I seen either of them actually harm another animal though our cat, Lasagna, would probably disagree on principle.
So, back to the opossums. I glance out a window and see that, indeed, there is an unidentified animal in the yard and Gus is barking at it while Axel excitedly prances around. I quickly put on my shoes and run outside because from afar it truly looks like our aforementioned cat, Lasagna, lying prone in the grass. As I get closer though I realize it’s an opossum (by the way, “opossums” are native to the United States and Canada and “possums” are native to Australia). As I stand there in shock I can see the opossums belly squirming and without knowing a lick about the animal I immediately knew it was a momma opossum with babies in her pouch.
It’s obvious the momma opossum is hurt. She has a bit of blood on her left backside and is barely breathing. I look around the area that she is lying and I see a few tufts of fur as well as two dead baby opossums. It’s starting to look like one, or both, of the dogs had a hand in this chaos. After securing Axel in the house I tell the girls to run and get their Aunt Eleis because, believe it or not, she has experience in baby opossum rescue. Upon her arrival we both begin making phone calls and are finally directed to Karen with Awesome ‘Possumz and, let me be honest, she’s awesome. I left a message on Karen’s phone and within minutes received a call back. She asked me to snap a few pictures of the opossum and of the babies to get a better idea of what was going on.
After Karen saw the photos of the momma she told me that she felt she was doing what opossums do best; she was playing “possum.” Karen said that if we all moved away and gave the momma some space she might get up and move off. If she didn’t move in half an hour then I was to call her back and we would take it from there. I swear not but five minutes after hanging up the phone with Karen that momma opossum popped her head up, looked around, and started moving. Unfortunately, she was clearly very injured as she dragged her back legs a bit and then eventually limped off. The direction in which she headed was straight towards the soccer fields so I felt confident she was merely hiding in the brush along the edge of the property but after scouting around for 20 minutes with no sign of her I gave up. Feeling a little deflated because the momma was so hurt and I really didn’t know how to help her (or find her) I went back to the house to see if the girls would help bury the two dead babies.
Excitedly, because my children can be weirdos at times, they agreed to the task and ran outside to claim a baby opossum to bury. As we walked towards the babies Axel bolted by us and quickly discovered the first live baby opossum. It would seem that he dropped out of his momma’s pouch when she took off. If you look at the picture above I’m guessing it’s the little guy who’s butt is hanging out beneath the head of his sibling. The joy we all felt when we saw that little guy was so overwhelming. I quickly called Karen (for no less than the millionth time) and told her we had found a live baby. We put him in a box, bundled in towels and waited for further instructions.
By this point in the day we had reached our daily porch sitting time. Grandma has been coming around to visit on the porch (maintaining proper distance) and the girls were beyond excited to share the news with her. As we were sitting, chatting I commented on Axel and his point. Generally he gets excited about a bird so I didn’t think much of it but I like watching him do something that comes naturally so I continued to watch. Just a few seconds later another baby opossum came running out of some branches we had taken down weeks earlier. He was in a totally different area from where the momma had been and where she had gone and therefore he took us totally by surprise. Axel was definitely ready to “play” with him as all of us: me, both girls, Grandma, and Aunt Eleis frantically screamed at the dog to leave the baby alone. I quickly retrieved the baby and ran him to his sibling.
The girls were absolutely enamored though stopped short of naming them. For a split second the thought of keeping them crossed everyone’s mind (with the exception of the men) but we knew the right thing to do was take them to be rehabilitated and released. So, off to Awesome ‘Possumz we went: me, my two girls, and our two new furry friends. I couldn’t imagine not bringing the girls with me despite the current crisis and I am so glad I did because Karen wowed us with her rehabilitation center. There were our two babies who were joined with a single baby opossum that had come in the night before, 10 baby opossums snuggled up together and greedily eating their food, a momma opossum with her seven(!) babies, five feisty baby squirrels waiting for release, and two adult opossums who are ambassadors for their kind and quite honestly, the girls and I left smitten.
I am worried about the momma opossum and where she might have wandered off. While we were gone taking the babies to their new home Aunt Eleis said she heard the dogs making a commotion a few times and came out to check but didn’t see anything. I hope the momma is OK though judging by the way she limped away I don’t have high hopes. I am glad we were able to rescue at least two of the babies and we were in the right place at the right time for both of them. In the end, we did eventually get around to burying the poor babies that didn’t survive and they now rest peacefully under an oak tree with a sturdy stone to protect them.
I cannot stress enough what a great program Karen has. If you find an injured opossum, are interested in learning more about opossums, or learning about Karen’s education program please check out her website: https://www.awesomepossumz.com/ or call 1-703-772-2766.