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Li’l Dwayne drops in

Oh no. That was his mama!

To the rescue! Officer Dwayne Justin’s holds sockful of baby possum, Li’l Dwayne.
To the rescue! Officer Dwayne Justin’s holds sockful of baby possum, Li’l Dwayne.

Caw! Caw! Talk about a dawn chorus! Six in the am. Half a dozen crows swoop and holler above the little patio in back. They keep it up for half an hour before I finally give up on sleep and haul myself out of bed. By then, they’ve lined up on the balustrade of the house next door, and I suddenly see what they’re excited about: a possum, hanging upside-down, right at head level. He looks as though he’s stuck in the electric wires. Maybe that prehensile tail is jammed. I go get a pole, and I push on the possum’s tail and butt, where he seems to be joined to the wire. Did he get shocked? I give one more push and splat! He falls to the ground.

Officer Dwayne holds his newly named namesake, Li’l Dwayne, safely in my sock.

I give him a gentle poke. He waddles off, looking back once, heading next door. But here’s the thing: a moment later, another possum — a tiny one — floats down through the air and lands next to where the big guy was. Guy? Oh no. That was his mama! Oh man. I wait for Mama to come back to pick up the kid, but she doesn’t. She has disappeared under the neighbor’s house.

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The crows are going crazy now, and though they don’t dare swoop with me around, they can see breakfast. Alfred Hitchcock, where are you? I give the baby a little poke. No response. Dead? I have to retreat to give Mama a chance to come back to pick up junior. I make myself stay away for about an hour, until finally the cold gets through even my wraps. That little feller could be dead by now.

I remember someone telling me how he had nursed a baby possum back from the brink, and gained a friend for life. Huh. I head outside, and see his supine body. Gray and white, with those tiny hands, not moving. Or is he playing possum? At least the crows haven’t got him yet. I head back to my sock drawer and pull out the oldest one I can find, roll it down so it’s his length, then tuck him in. I finally see signs of life from his ears, and then his eyes. This little guy is starting to capture my heart.

“I’m a PSO,” says Officer Dwayne Jusino of the Coronado PD. “A Public Service Officer.” I called the PAWS animal rescue number, and, if you can believe it, they put me though to the police, and the police said they’d come! I name the kid Li’l Dwayne in honor of officer Jusino. Big Dwayne arrived with heavy gloves and a monster cage. “I’ve never had a call for a baby like this,” he says, holding Li’l Dwayne. Only fly in the ointment: I discover that baby possums usually spend a year with their mother before leaving home. I’ve made this guy an orphan. If I’d just done nothing, they would still be an intact family. If the crows hadn’t got him.

“Animal Rescue knows what he needs, like hydration and feeding, and how long to keep him,” says Officer Dwayne, by way of comfort. I give Li’l Dwayne a farewell pat on his head. He blinks slowly. Oh, and is that a flea I saw hop off him? Whatever, I feel like a parent when the kid goes off to summer camp.

Now he’s just these two little ears sticking out of the sock in Officer Dwayne’s huge cage. “Have a good life, Li’l Dwayne,” I say, to no one in particular.

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To the rescue! Officer Dwayne Justin’s holds sockful of baby possum, Li’l Dwayne.
To the rescue! Officer Dwayne Justin’s holds sockful of baby possum, Li’l Dwayne.

Caw! Caw! Talk about a dawn chorus! Six in the am. Half a dozen crows swoop and holler above the little patio in back. They keep it up for half an hour before I finally give up on sleep and haul myself out of bed. By then, they’ve lined up on the balustrade of the house next door, and I suddenly see what they’re excited about: a possum, hanging upside-down, right at head level. He looks as though he’s stuck in the electric wires. Maybe that prehensile tail is jammed. I go get a pole, and I push on the possum’s tail and butt, where he seems to be joined to the wire. Did he get shocked? I give one more push and splat! He falls to the ground.

Officer Dwayne holds his newly named namesake, Li’l Dwayne, safely in my sock.

I give him a gentle poke. He waddles off, looking back once, heading next door. But here’s the thing: a moment later, another possum — a tiny one — floats down through the air and lands next to where the big guy was. Guy? Oh no. That was his mama! Oh man. I wait for Mama to come back to pick up the kid, but she doesn’t. She has disappeared under the neighbor’s house.

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Sponsored

The crows are going crazy now, and though they don’t dare swoop with me around, they can see breakfast. Alfred Hitchcock, where are you? I give the baby a little poke. No response. Dead? I have to retreat to give Mama a chance to come back to pick up junior. I make myself stay away for about an hour, until finally the cold gets through even my wraps. That little feller could be dead by now.

I remember someone telling me how he had nursed a baby possum back from the brink, and gained a friend for life. Huh. I head outside, and see his supine body. Gray and white, with those tiny hands, not moving. Or is he playing possum? At least the crows haven’t got him yet. I head back to my sock drawer and pull out the oldest one I can find, roll it down so it’s his length, then tuck him in. I finally see signs of life from his ears, and then his eyes. This little guy is starting to capture my heart.

“I’m a PSO,” says Officer Dwayne Jusino of the Coronado PD. “A Public Service Officer.” I called the PAWS animal rescue number, and, if you can believe it, they put me though to the police, and the police said they’d come! I name the kid Li’l Dwayne in honor of officer Jusino. Big Dwayne arrived with heavy gloves and a monster cage. “I’ve never had a call for a baby like this,” he says, holding Li’l Dwayne. Only fly in the ointment: I discover that baby possums usually spend a year with their mother before leaving home. I’ve made this guy an orphan. If I’d just done nothing, they would still be an intact family. If the crows hadn’t got him.

“Animal Rescue knows what he needs, like hydration and feeding, and how long to keep him,” says Officer Dwayne, by way of comfort. I give Li’l Dwayne a farewell pat on his head. He blinks slowly. Oh, and is that a flea I saw hop off him? Whatever, I feel like a parent when the kid goes off to summer camp.

Now he’s just these two little ears sticking out of the sock in Officer Dwayne’s huge cage. “Have a good life, Li’l Dwayne,” I say, to no one in particular.

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