Tonight just like every night I put the dogs out so that they could go do their business. I got one of them back in his crate and then I heard the other one that was still in the backyard barking like crazy. That meant pretty much only one thing; he had cornered some animal. I got a flashlight and stood on the deck and with the flashlight located the what was causing all of the commotion. Sure enough there was Loki and a bewildered looking opossum suffering the wrath of a pissed off boxer dog.
I started to think how stupid this animal was. It was next to a tree yet it didn’t even try to climb it. It had sharp claws and lots of fairly big teeth and yet it decided to just stand there. Hell, it didn’t even play the "playing dead" card. It just stood there. You dumb freakin’ beast I thought. How did your kind even evolve to allow for one of your species to be in my backyard on this night?
I was finally able to get Loki by the collar and get him in the house. After a quick check to see if Loki had received any cuts or bite marks, I decided to go back out and check on the poor beast to see if it had suffered any wounds. Yep, the critter was still standing there just as dazed and confused as I had left it. It hadn’t even moved an inch. It didn’t appear to have any wounds inflicted upon it either.
And that is when I noticed it. The opossums eyes were all milky gray colored and not the typical dark black they normally have. It was obvious it had cataracts in both eyes. I shined the flashlight away from its eyes and then back again. No response. I did this a few more times. Again, no response. The poor thing was blind. I could tell it could hear as its ears perked up when I made a noise and it was constantly sniffing the air.
I started to look at the creature a bit closer. It was obvious this critter had seen better days. Its fur was really matted. It was underweight. It also had a few scars on its ears and down its side where some fur was missing. I started to wonder how many other animals had attacked it.
I left the animal to its business and purposely didn’t bring in the dog food bowl that had a few kibbles left in it so that this old and busted up marsupial could have its snack that it had earned and almost lost its life over.
I learned something in all of this. It might sound funny, but it was almost a religious experience of sorts. What I had thought was just some stupid animal causing me frustration and didn’t deserve to live as it was so dumb to not even try to flee or defend itself in any way was actually doing all that it could. In my mind I had condemned this creature to suffer and die because it was annoying. As it turns out, all that it was doing was trying to survive the best that it could with what it had to work with. It amazed me how quickly I had made all of these assumptions of what this animal should be doing when it was doing exactly what it could do. Sometimes all you can do in life is sit where you are and take whatever life presents good, bad, or indifferent.
Yes, tonight I learned something from an old blind opossum. Things are not always what they appear to be.