Opposum Adventure! - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-27-2017, 09:15 AM Thread Starter
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Opposum Adventure!

My baby girl turned 6 months old on the 22nd, and it looks like we are getting into the "ignoring your recall command when I want to do something else" stage which gave me the most anxiety-inducing experience of my life yesterday.

She has a wonderful recall. Always comes back. For the past month or so I've been letting her off-leash in a field with trails down by the river near our apartment that is far from roads, cars, other people and dogs, etc. She gets zoomies and loves to jump and run in circles through the tall grass - she has the time of her life! I bring high value treats and we train recall, I never leash her up after I call her, I always "catch" her before putting the leash on. We've been doing this almost every day for a month. Everything is great, right?

Well, yesterday she was running through the field when I noticed she was very interested in something. I call her back, and she doesn't even look up at me. That's weird. Next thing I know she has something large, black, and furry in her mouth and is BOLTING back down the trail the way we came. She speeds past me and I see what she has...a dead possum (opposum)!!!!

I frantically sprint after her calling all sorts of commands - her name, come, drop it, here, sit, down, until I cant run anymore, my voice is shot, tears are streaming down my face, and she's completely out of sight. Luckily, once I got back up to civilization a few men told me that they saw her running up towards my apartment building with something in her mouth (down sidewalks of busy city streets, but luckily the way home doesn't include crossing any streets!).

I finally reach our block, where I see her proudly sitting in front of our apartment door with the possum in her mouth. A neighbor was laughing hysterically and taking photos of her. When I got there, he said that she kept trying to give him her "prize". She was wagging her tail and looking at me like "what took you so long to get home, momma?!" I leash her up, ask her to drop it, and head inside where we celebrated her safe return. Animal control came and collected the evidence of our adventure, after I took a few pictures of course.

She has lost her off-leash privileges, don't worry! I feel absolutely terrible to put her in danger like that and I've never been so scared or upset in my life. However, part of me is proud of the fact that she ran over a mile with an animal the size of a cat in her mouth and 1) knew how to get home, and 2) had a soft mouth and didn't damage the animal at all. She is my very first dog, so I'm not sure if either of these are typical behaviors, but she is very special to us and turning out to be quite feisty.

Pictures of the possum available upon request...
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-27-2017, 09:20 AM Thread Starter
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Here is a photo of the devious little girl...
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-27-2017, 09:32 AM
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So glad everything worked out, must have terrified you! Make sure your distemper shots included Lepto.

The only reason I say this is when I moved out to the country and realized I had nightly visitors of critters and lots of interesting poo candy in the yard, I realized my dogs had never had vaccinations for lepto. Previous Vet said he had too many dogs that didn't handle it well and exposure was low in town so he stopped giving it back in 1970! Shame on me for not realizing this.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-27-2017, 09:56 AM Thread Starter
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She is vaccinated against lepto, thank you for the advice!! It might be more common in our area, but also since we spend a lot of time outdoors the vet recommended it. Hefe is a huge fan of rabbit "poo candy" . I try to avoid it, but if she comes across it and ignores my "leave it" I can re-direct her head because I walk her on a gentle leader.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-27-2017, 10:38 AM
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I am so glad that she went home and was ok! Never had Bailey catch a possum (not too may around here) but he is forever catching live bunnies and bringing them to me. I'm with you, wild animals (dead or alive) are not my idea of a gift from my dog.

[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]"In rescuing animals I lost my mind....but found my soul"
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-29-2017, 06:44 AM
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Possums are often not dead but playing possum... glad you got it from her!!
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-30-2017, 11:00 AM
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Oh boy quite an adventure! Sounds like she's hit her rebellious teen phase, and yes that is common with Goldens. And she certainly has some good retriever instincts there! Many of us know the "pleasure" of having our dogs giving us a prize we did not ask for or want!

She really does look pleased with herself in that wonderful photo tho!!!

Belle (Golden) see you at the bridge, Georgie (tie-dye Golden), Gunner (Golden), Fitz (Golden)
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