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Sighting Wildlife at Home! (aka Who Needs to go on Vacation?)

As if we need another reason not to sleep, we recently had the stress of a mysterious visitor to our home, via the dog door.

Our 3 yr old boxer, Baxter was increasingly restless for three nights.  I was up every 20 minutes with him, watching him pace the house, sniffing around the laundry room, going outside through the dog door, then back in.  Eventually, I’d take him into the guest bedroom with me, shut the door and we would get a few hours sleep without disturbing my husband who gets up very early.  After the third night of this, I called the vet after researching ‘dog insomnia’ and when he said he wasn’t hearing of any health reason – but entirely empathizing with my need for sleep – suggested giving him Benadryl and some prescription sedatives we had on hand from earlier surgeries PLUS an antibiotic in case it was a urinary tract infection.  He STILL was pacing – albeit in a wobbly way!  It was 12:20 a.m. Thursday and I was standing there again watching him in the kitchen, when suddenly he goes tearing across the dining room chasing something about the size of a softball until he pulled up short at the couch.  I let out an involuntary yelp/scream and my husband came running.  Looking under the couch didn’t do any good as it’s a sofa sleeper so I started tearing off cushions…and found a grey bottom and “rat” tail – a small possum.  Another yelp and drop the cushions!

After getting a live trap set up in the living room and baiting it with what was suggested online, we finally each took a dog to different bedrooms, shut the doors and tried to get a few more hours sleep.  (Of course, this was a day we needed to be up at 4:30).  I was barely asleep when I heard pictures being knocked off my coffee and end tables.  Trying to ignore it, hoping the creature would just GET IN THE TRAP I slept fitfully until 4.  By then, my bottles of different oils I keep by the stove had
been knocked off onto the floor along with dishtowels and other items.  Now I’m mad!  I begin to clean up the droppings the possum has left on the stove (GROSS!), working my way to my left, past the kitchen sink and MORE “souvenirs” to my fruit bowl – that HAD been full of apples!  There’s apple debris all over the place and I find a shadowy ball of fur curled up behind the bowl and beside the espresso machine.  I yelled for my husband to get his leather gloves and get RID of this thing!  Thank goodness he had them close by, was able to grab it easily around the neck and took it outside to the hedgerow and let it toddle off in the pre-dawn darkness.

Finding something like this was unsettling to say the least!  It helped to explain strange things that had been happening around the house as well.  My mother lives with us in a apartment attached to our house and told me later (after all this was over) about a “nightmare” she had of a “rat” climbing over her bed!  She thought “it’s a dream! Just a dream!” – thinking if she DID tell me, I would think she was losing her mind!  Poor mama!  Needless to say, my house reeked of bleach during the next day as I cleaned everything the creature would’ve walked on or climbed on!

Lesson learned:  If you are going on vacation and taking your dogs, not only do you want to lock your entry doors up tight, but LOCK THE DOG DOOR as well!  You’d be surprised at what can come through!