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It’s going to be one of those days

What a way to start a Monday morning!

Today was my first full week back to work since before the holidays.

I allowed myself the luxury of eeking out every last minute of vacation by laying around in bed an extra 45 minutes this morning until 5:30 a.m. My three fur-girls were all snoozing away, Willow to my right and Cricket to my left. (Belle the Bloodhound never strays from her dog bed in front of my dresser.)

Once I made “the move” (removing my stunning mouth appliance which prevents my snoring and placing it in its storage container on my nightstand), my two pooches on my king-sized bed began stretching and rolling around playing.

I slid into my slippers, donned my robe and down the stairs we went, heading straight to the back door.

It was only a matter of seconds before I heard the familiar sounds of an unwelcome intruder being challenged in the backyard. Our fearless, 20-pound Jack Russell Terrier, Cricket, is like a heat-seeking missile when it comes to strangers in our backyard, even in the depths of darkness in the pre-dawn hours. She had cornered an opossum, basically the same size as herself, and the game was on. It was right off the deck in the small garden we have fenced in with 2-foot tall chicken wire.

Although I knew it was futile, I stood on the deck pleading with Cricket to come in the house. I make no bones about admitting I am scared of all critters roaming the wilds at night, especially the ones that make their way into my backyard. There’s nothing cute about a furry, 30-pound rodent with sharp teeth and beady eyes.

I ran into the house and grabbed a handful of roast from last night’s meal, thinking I could distract my maniacal little warrior from the hissing 40-pound possum. I was chucking pieces of roast in Cricket’s direction — safely from my position on the deck — trying to lay out a “Hansel and Gretel” path back to the door. It didn’t work.

I ran back in the house, taking several slabs of turkey lunch meat from the refrigerator, then running back out to fling them in Cricket’s direction. That didn’t work either.

I was home alone and there was no one to come to my rescue so decided I needed to buck up and just go get my determined little dog, leaving myself open to attack from that nasty, growling 50-pound rat on steroids.

So anyway ...

There I am, in my pajamas, robe and chore boots, creeping my way closer and closer to Cricket as she lunged at the possum, batting at it with her front paw, smacking it every now and again. Yuck! Just looking at that thing made me shiver.

I grabbed one of the garden posts still tied to the skeletal remains of the tomato and pepper plants — if that possum was coming for me, I was at least going to get in a few good licks. I put the post between the pooch and her prey, holding it in front of Cricket’s chest, using it to back her closer to me until I could pick her up. After last night’s rain, the ground, my dog and my boots were heavy with mud, but I was amazingly agile as I quickly scaled the garden fence and ran back up on the deck.

After giving Cricket a quick bath and getting myself dressed, I fetched myself a cup of coffee just to regroup before leaving for work. It had been a harrowing experience.

Once I return home this afternoon, I’ll need to go retrieve all the meat I threw into the garden. There’s something kind of creepy about strips of turkey lunchmeat dangling from dead tomato plants in January.

Contact Dana King at 641-792-3121 ext. 6522 or

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