As the supervisor of a large apartment complex, I take care of a lot of things, from leaky toilets to cleaning the streets to fixing air conditioners, but opossum control is a new one on me.
I got a call from one of my favorite tenants. Mrs. Hernandez is a sweet older widow who always takes the time to say “hello” to her neighbors and remembers details about their life. “How is your sick puppy, Rocco?” she asks the oldest Johnson boy. Or, “How was your job interview?” she asks Brandon Thompson. But, she never goes on and on about her own life or pulls out pictures of her grandchildren without being asked. She even organized an apartment-wide barbeque a couple of weeks ago, and got more people to come than I had expected. She has a special way about her that just makes you love her.
She rarely calls me with any needs, because she told me she doesn’t like to impose. I’ve insisted that it is not only my job to fix things in her apartment, but it is my pleasure to help her out. But, she still hesitates, so I like to stop by and check in on her every week to make sure everything’s running smoothly.
So, I was surprised when she called me this morning. I was doubly surprised when she said, “I really don’t know how to say this, but I think I need opossum control or a plumber.” Confused, I decided to investigate it myself before calling a professional opossum removal service or a plumber, and grabbed my ever-ready tool bag and thick gloves.
When I got there, she looked embarrassed as she led me back to her bathroom and directed my attention to her tub. A tiny opossum baby was actually stuck inside the drain. Its hind legs had slipped in between the large drain holes. Every time it struggled to free itself, its tiny paws would just slip on the wet tub surface, and it would slip down just a little further.
Mrs. Hernandez said she had no idea where the mother was or how the opossum even got inside her apartment. She and I agreed it probably got separated from its mother and then crawled in through her open window. This was definitely a first for me, though. I considered doing my own opossum control, by putting on the thick gloves, pulling the animal out of the drain, and popping it in the tool box to safely take it outside. But, what would I do with it once I got it outside? If I just released it, would it die alone? Would it be easy prey for other animals? Mrs. Hernandez had obviously considered this, too, and she was mortified at the idea of a helpless baby opossum. Partly to ease my own conscience and partly to appease sweet Mrs. Hernandez, I agreed to call a professional opossum removal service. Mrs. Hernandez even made me some ice tea as we waited for them to arrive.