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Lions and tigers and armadillos?

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*** Attached image is of the incredibly cute and brave Ellie of which this story surrounds.

I want y‘all to all sit down and let me tell ya a little story. Names and situations have not been redacted and believe me folks, if I still smoked, I’d be on the front porch puffing away like a freight train right now. This tale starts early this morning, about three am, when my sweet little niece, FINALLY went to sleep. Me, groggy and exhausted, tumbled into bed right around then. Three hours later, I wake to the incessant barking of our very large dog, Patches (who, is no dummy, unlike others in this story). My sweet, but unsuspecting Mr. Scott simply states (after half an hour of barking) that “she‘s just barking at other dogs.” Because, ya know, she does that (really, she doesn’t most of the time). Then, he leaves for work—which of course sets me up for disaster.

Now, let me explain why we started our story with me going to be at three am and waking up a six am. I’m naturally paranoid (part of my anxiety disorder), but worse so on little amounts of sleep. So when I duck my head out my window to see what barking dog is up to prior to taking other dogs out… I think I hear something. This happens often. I psyche myself up or out about a simple, nothing noise (a lot of you have heard the Leslie prowling around the house in her pajamas story). I decide in that moment, that noise and the barking dog might actually BE something and that something could be a random crackhead scavenging in Mr. Scott’s shed, a drunk guy with finger pistols flopping around like a fish in my driveway, or a mythical beast come to whisk me away to the Never Never to drink honey tea and play with fairies. I DON‘T KNOW. They are all plausible.

I get my pistol (as all good, southern country girls would do in this moment).

As I take first dog (Scout, the puppy) out, the little dog (Ellie, the chihuahua or “twa twa” for those who have heard that story) runs out. Normal. She‘s the “I stay close and don‘t cause trouble” dog (haha, the second ingredient in my recipe for disaster). Scout does her business with no incident, no noise, just barking big dog. I take second dog out (Lotus). Okay so, here’s my third clue something is up and I get a little freaked. Lotus wants to go the OPPOSITE direction than she normally goes on her morning potty routine. I correct her course, then bring her back in once the deed is done.

Still exhausted. I momentarily forget tiny dog until big dog starts barking again. Shit. Okay, okay, off to get tiny dog Ellie. I step onto the porch… Ellie starts barking from over the direction that Lotus was trying to go and Patches is posted, barking her head off. I freak out, shout for Ellie, and run headlong into danger because—we do that for our pets. We love them, they are family. Also … she literally weighs six pounds and Patches weighs ninety, there is also a fence between the place Ellie was at and where Patches was diligently (and proudly at this point) singing the song of her people.

I see it. I freak, because for a moment it LOOKS like a copperhead flopping in dirt, right beside Mr. Scott’s beloved classic car (a 1969 Chevelle). I do the only thing a proper, southern woman in her pajamas at six thirty in the morning does — I shoot the damn thing. Or sort of. I shot AT it, into the dirt, because—dogs. Pretty sure I nicked the side of a snake and figure in the process my incredibly skittish (if you‘ve met her, you know) chihuahua Ellie has darted away because of the horrendously loud BANG.

Nope.

Not even close.

See, this as of yet to be identified snake-like thing I‘ve shot at is digging some sort of massive crater beneath the car canopy. Because, ya know, snake-like creatures do these things. In the process it has garnered the wrath of Ellie. Who is now diving headfirst into this hole.

Y’all, I move faster than I thought my fat ass could move, reach INTO THE DAMN HOLE and grab this dog by her cute, curly little tail, and jerk her out. As I do…

I SEE IT’S DAMN EYES!!! ABORT! ABORT! IT’S GOT A SNOUT! SNAKES DON’T HAVE SNOUTS!

With my pistol in one hand, waving a perturbed chihuahua in the other, I ran full speed ahead, klaxon warning sirens blaring in my head, all the way into the house.

Armadillo – 1 … Leslie – 0

Disclaimers: knowing it’s not a copperhead, I’m glad I missed. We’ll be setting a trap and releasing it in the woods at the end of my street. Where it should be safe from both me AND Ellie. Geez. … Also, Ellie was completely unharmed and has earned a place of “scared the crap out of Mom” honor on my bed near the pillow to sleep away the morning… and being that the armadillo is also now sleeping, Patches is no longer notifying us, repeatedly.

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