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Rio's Backyard Victory

Rio's Backyard Victory

In the history of his life Rio, our dog, has never, ever, caught any of the little animals that frequent our backyard. Not a one. I believe that all the life that stops by our small patch of rented space is aware of his lack of ability. He is taunted quite frequently by a chuckling band of squirrels. 

One said squirrel actually came into our house this week via the backdoor. It was nap time for my littles and I was working at the dinning room table. I heard a scurry in the kitchen. I thought it was Rio until a squirrel rounded the corner and paused to take me in. 

My breath caught at the unexpected guest but I didn't scream. There's no screaming at nap time. Seriously. No. Screaming. I don't care if there is a squirrel parade marching around in my kitchen. It will be observed in calm during nap time. 

We blinked at each other. I started reaching for my phone for documentation purposes, of course. He took that as a credible threat and left quickly the way he came. Rio was in the living room, only a couple of yards away, totally and completely unaware we had been breached by the sworn enemy. 

So, that's how much respect the creatures of the yard have for our diligent barker. Zero. They'll walk right into his house if they feel like it. Torment his owner. Eat the kid crumbs that he has dibs on. Whatever. 

He has tried to teach them all a lesson. His attempts are valiant, loud, and bouncy. But to no avail. 

Until last night. Last night Rio launched his bouncy bark attack at the sight of some twitchy nosed wanderer only this time, he shockingly ended up with a mouth full of fur. 

He quickly dropped his prize and high tailed it back into the house and hid. His surprise was obvious and quickly went the way of sadness. When he did reemerge it was with the slinking doggy walk of shame, head and ears down, tucked rear. 

My knowledge of backyard fauna is quite adept. I recognized right off the poor lifeless creature laying on our artificial turf, an opossum. 

We three, the two bigs and I, looked on at the aftermath from our sliding glass door. I decided that something must be done. Rio would need to go out again before the night was through and a dead animal couldn't remain there. 

I got my kitchen gloves on and steeled myself for having to deal with the surprisingly bloodless carnage. The kids pleaded for me not to go out there. To let Uncle Ryan deal with it when he got home. I decided against that. I would handle this. (I don't actually know why.)

Just before opening the door I remembered something. Some valuable file on opossums opened in my mind and a page highlighted with their ability to play dead slipped out. 

Sometimes opossum play dead! 

I decided to wait, in case he was a death faker. 10 minutes passed. No signs of life. 

I open the door intent on playing animal control. A few steps out and that creature popped right up nearly scaring the life out of us all. We let out appropriately timed screams and nearly died. The real kind.

10 minutes is apparently not the recommended wait time on opossum zombies. Now you know. Give them plenty of time and space to reanimate. File that one away in your melon, just in case. If you have learned anything from me, let it be this: Opossums are really good at playing dead.

I have had quite enough with the small woodland creatures of our backyard this week, truly enough. E. Nough.

It did get me thinking though. Poor Rio. Nearly all his little life he has been chasing creatures around our yard. You would have thought he had finally had his victory.  He finally caught one. It laid 'dead' in our yard for awhile, plenty of time for all the other creatures to take note. He is not to be mocked. 

I guess it wasn't all he thought it would be. It's all in doggy fun, until it's not. Until your holding a creature between your teeth and things get complicated. 

He spat the opossum out totally unharmed and fled quickly. He hadn't thought it all the way through. The repercussions were unexpected. The dream realized, very different than the dream envisioned. 

There are things that I want. Physical things, I wish I had. There are also goals that I haven't been able to et my fingers around. In away, I'm like Rio. I launch my bouncy bark attack after the dreams that taunt me. 

What if I caught what I seek after? Have the repercussions of actually acquiring what I seek been fully vetted? What if it all just ended up before me just like that? Am I ready for all that it might mean?


That's probably the same reason things often go awry for lottery winners. We aren't, obviously, ready for 'all of a suddens.' 

But unlike Rio, I have the advantage of choosing how to pursue my goals in life and to adapt them and rework them. Fear and shame don't have to be my outcome. I step forward knowing full well that I am loved because of and despite it all. I learn. I respect the season I am in. When I reach my goals (and I fully plan to) I'll be ready (at least I'll try). I'm ok with how things are unfolding. 

We cover Rio with love and reassurance. He lives to bounce and bark another day. Backyard creatures beware, he may be more prepared the next time.  

Thanks for reading!



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God made my life complete
    when I placed all the pieces before him.
When I got my act together,
    he gave me a fresh start.
Now I’m alert to God’s ways;
    I don’t take God for granted.
Every day I review the ways he works;
    I try not to miss a trick.
I feel put back together,
    and I’m watching my step.
God rewrote the text of my life
    when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes. 
Psalm 18: 20-24 MSG
Ode to The Grand Popito

Ode to The Grand Popito

The Grand Popito

The Grand Popito