I don’t write much about another member of the family, Jack the Wonder Dog (as in “I wonder where that squirrel went?”). He’s a 7yo black lab, border collie mix. People say, “Oh, border collie. He must be pretty smart!” Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), Jack’s not much in the brains department. However, he is very earnest and very tolerant of being spun around on the linoleum and being chased by the hamster.
So, the other night, we pulled into the garage after taking the dog for a ride in the car to find an opossum on the handlebars of Xavier’s bike. It was the first time I’d ever seen a possum anywhere other than the side of the road. The animal froze—apparently the possum mothers tell their babies our vision is based on movement—and we tried to scare him away with the car horn and shouting at him out the window. No soap.
So we let the dog out of the car. Did he go directly to the possum? No, he went directly to the door into the house. DH and I start yelling, “Jack! Get the possum!” so Jack dutifully runs to the other side of the garage, sniffs the ground underneath the bike and runs out into the yard. The more we repeat, “Get the possum!” the more frantically Jack runs back and forth between the bike and the driveway. He looked like he might have actually scented something but his actions displayed a certain amount of two-dimensional thinking, as Spock would say.
Finally, Jack looks up, sees the possum and starts to bark. I start to wonder why all this yelling and barking hasn’t brought any boys to the door. We decide this is a teachable moment and get ready to go in to get the boys. As I look away, out of the corner of my eye, I see Jack take off toward the yard. The possum is gone, so fast I never saw him move.
Jack catches him in the front yard and the possum flops over “dead.” I call him off, as DH calls the boys to come see. He really looks dead. His back is contorted, his neck is at an odd angle and his mouth is open. We weren’t sure whether Jack had really hurt him or not. We wait, deciding what we should do next. Eventually, the possum literally lifts his head briefly to see if the coast is clear! Just like in Bugs Bunny!