“Opossums in a Trap?” I tap the screen of the laptop in my truck.
“Yes two of them.” The voice over the phone crackles.
“O.K I’ll be there.” I assign the case to myself on the screen. Great, My second day on the job and I am dealing with Marsupials. Wasn’t this job all about Canines and Felines? Why am I saving opossums?
I press the button on my two-way radio. “10-4, Heading to trap #321.” I stare into the overcast Texas sky and quickly read my training manual regarding trapped wildlife. If wildlife gets trapped in our live traps set out for feral cats, they need to be released if they are healthy. If injured and bleeding, they must be euthanized in a humane manner as per Texas Health & Safety procedure 166.45-51.
Eight minutes later I pull into the maintenance building of the University and ask the complainant, “Two opossums in one trap? How?”
“This you have to see.” The Hispanic worker smiles.
I take a deep breath and prepare for the ghastly sight. Who cares for these ugly animals? I’m wasting time saving them instead some dogs or other cute…
…Whoa. The sight in front of my eyes stops me in my tracks. A baby Opossum is wailing and whining inside the trap and its mother is outside trying in vain to reach her baby through the wire cage. A deep gash oozes blood from her nose as she desperately tries to reach her young
She stops when she notices me and then starts again, unafraid of me. In fact, in her world I don’t exist and my uniform isn’t valid, nor is my pole threatening.
I put her in a transfer cage with her baby and take her to a local vet. We dress up her wound and suture it. My job calls for taking her to the shelter and declaring her injured. However if I do so she’ll be put down and her baby won’t survive without its mama.
So I break a rule on my second day at my job to save two lives I didn’t care for 2 hours ago and I re-learn the lesson of a mothers love for her child.
Tonight I’ll just call my mom and listen to her voice—just because…