A couple of weeks ago on a Sunday evening, I was lying in bed half-asleep when my cell went off. I grabbed it. It was my rescue friend, Lisa.
"I'll be coming down I-255 in about a half-hour. Wanna meet me?" Not many folks could induce me to leave my bed once I'm tucked in for the evening. But kindhearted Lisa has been donating puppies to IMR to help us pay for the old puppymill survivors who are our staple clientele. I knew we needed the little ones she was bringing. "I'll be there," I replied. I rolled out of bed, through some jeans on. Twenty minutes later, I rolled up behind Lisa at the Flying J.
Lisa's car was packed to the rafters, as always. She handed me two beautiful creme cockapoo puppies - enough to pay for four seniors easily. Then she pulled out a little wad of blackish fur that wiggled in her hands. She held him up so I could see his belly, pointing out a barely visible hole.
"He needed surgery," she said. "The vet did this so he could pee from here. They think his mom might have chewed some of his equipment off my mistake. Either that, or it's a birth defect." She then pointed out the lack of a tail - not even a stump to suggest a tail. "They called him Possum. His mom is their house dog. Her name is Possum, too." Ah, puppymillers - not a terribly inventive bunch. The little dog could not have weighed a pound-and-a-half soaking wet and he smelled like a chicken coop. But there was something about him that made me want to give the little poodle a shot, and "Possum" seemed to suit him.
After three baths and careful trims so they could at least see where they were going, all three pups settled in nicely at my house. They made impressive use of the house and yard, running and rolling like tumbleweeds when their feet got too fast for the rest of them. All of them were darling - who doesn't love puppies? But it quickly became apparent that Possum was a force to be reckoned with. The smallest of the three by half, he held his own in play-battles. He stared at us and stood on our shoes, demanding to be held. If Possum had issues with something, he protested LOUDLY.
On afternoon, I heard Possum yowling as if the hounds of Hades were shredding him right there in the hallway. I rushed in to see him spinning in circles, pausing to screech his frustration, then spinning some more. It seems Possum did not appreciate being unable to reach the poop on his butt. This was not an anomaly - I have since seen this behavior duplicated. Each time, it continues unabated until the butt in question has been cleaned with soap and water and patted dry. Possum is a fastidious fellow.
Possum knows his name now. There is nothing funnier than seeing that little ball of fur whose head barely breaks a wave in the grass beating feet like the ship is pulling away from the dock without him when someone calls his name. What Possum lacks in size, he more than makes up for in heart.
The best thing about Possum is that he never feels sorry for himself. Not ever. He's always up for anything. If he tries playing with a grouchy old pug and is reprimanded, he simply goes to the next dog. When you pick Possum up and hold him near your face, prepare to be smothered with kisses. This is one happy puppy.
Yesterday, Possum went to the groomer for the first time. He didn't have much done - it was more of a "get acquainted" visit (meet Mr. Clipper), but his face was shaved and his nails were trimmed. He looked really foo-foo when I picked him up.
I think a couple of bounces around the yard will fix that.
Possum is unique. With his physical defects, I doubt he will be adopted soon. But just to be sure, I put an exorbitant fee on him.
Of course, that will be reduced for the right person. But they can take their time finding Possum and me. I cannot look at this quirky little man without smiling.
Sometimes, I really need that. At least, for a little while.