I’ve certainly had a lot of pets over the years, but I’ve also had my share of run-ins with wild animals, too. One example is when a prairie dog managed to get trapped in our fenced-in back yard. I had no idea how he got in, but I watched for hours as he tried to get back out. I knew I had to step in to help when he fell into the five foot deep window well.
My inner MacGyver came out as I devised a plan to get him out. I needed a box and a length of rope. I ran to the garage, found the right size box, and started searching for rope. Nothing. I could hear my father saying “What kind of man doesn’t have rope in his garage?” Dad had rope, twine, string, cord, wire, and chain all in various lengths and thicknesses. I was wondering what kind of man, too, as I grabbed my daughter’s jump rope out of desperation. I attached one end to the box itself, and the other to one of the flaps, and lowered it down into the window well. Using a broom, I nudged the little guy into the box and pulled the flap closed. I pulled the box up and tied the rope around the box. Now what, I wondered. I decided to release him on the golf course which surrounded our neighborhood. That meant putting him in my car.
So, prairie dog and I were driving up a hill, when he decided to pop his head out of the box. I screamed, and not wanting to get bitten, I groped around under my seat until I found an ice scraper, which I used to slam the lid closed. This was getting ridiculous, I thought. I just wanted to save the guy, not play whack-a-mole in my Lexus. Thankfully, there was no traffic, as I knew I had crossed the center line several times. Finally, I saw some fellow prairie dogs on the side of the hill. He was happy to be released, and it felt good to watch him run off. On the way home, I started imagining what could have happened…
“Ma’am, do you know why I pulled you over?”
“No, Officer…I know I wasn’t speeding.”
“No, but you were driving erratically. Have you been drinking today, Ma’am?”
“No, I haven’t been drinking. It’s because of the prairie dog.”
“Ma’am, if you swerved to avoid hitting an animal, you wouldn’t be careening for half a mile.”
“Oh, the prairie dog wasn’t in the road.”
“It wasn’t… and just where was it?”
“In my passenger seat.”
“In your…ma’am, I think it’s very dangerous to pick up a wild animal on the side of the road.”
“Yes, I’m sure it would be, but he wasn’t on the side of the road….he was at my house.”
“I’m almost afraid to ask, but what was he doing at your house?”
“I have no idea.”
I would tell him the entire story. He would stand there looking at me incredulously.
“Ma’am, I’m not going to give you a ticket, but that is an unbelievable story.”
He would shake his head, back away towards his car, still looking at me.
“Unbelievable…you say your husband has no rope in his garage.”
“I know…isn’t it crazy?”