Squatter’s rights


So ugly he’s cute?

I don’t know about you, but I find relief from grief in the form of an occasional belly laugh. Absolutely not in the beginning, but after some time had passed, I welcomed a diversion from the heaviness of grief. Occasionally I have shared with you stories which provided a bit of humor for me, in hopes that, if you are in such a need, they will provide the opportunity for you to laugh as well. Laughter helps break up the cycle of grief, even if only for a moment . . . before sadness takes over again.

Do you remember reading about my lil’ orphan kitten, Rudy? I thought his story was finished, but, as it turns out, there is an epilogue. If you haven’t read the story of Rudy, you may want to read it first. You will find it in the archives, entitled “Soakin’ Up the Love”, posted April, 2016.

Some of you may remember that I fashioned a cozy house inside an old trash can to help Rudy survive his first winter. Laying the can on its side, I filled it with a variety of fuzzy pillows around the sides to help insulate against winter’s chill. I even included a furry pet bed, refused by my indoor cats, pushing it to the back of the can. It was the least that I could do to help Rudy stay warm and toasty all winter. Luckily he took right to it.

In the mornings I would open the door to the patio and call, “Here, Rudy. Come and eat breakfast!” There would be a rustling in his “den”, followed by a tiny “meow”, then his little black head would poke out. All was well until the temperature outside plummeted to single digits and stayed there. I would let Rudy into the garage so he could curl up close to me for a few moments to get warm. As much as Rudy needed me for warmth, I needed him for comfort. We grievers who have pets know how much they comfort us when we are sad.

Bundled up in the garage in the freezing cold I knew that Rudy was not keeping warm outside, with sharp winds buffeting his den. Plan B began to take shape in my head. Would Rudy stay in the garage? He might still be cold, but he would be out of the wind. Using a blanket and pillow I fashioned a soft spot in a chair where Rudy could curl up. I took into consideration his other needs and made a proper litter box, which he quickly adapted to. Indoor “plumbing” has to be more inviting than cold snow, right? Rudy might still be cold, but at least he would be out of the wind and blowing snow.

About now you are thinking . . . it sounds like outdoor Rudy had taken a giant step toward becoming indoor Rudy . . . making him my 4th furry child, but I haven’t weakened that much . . . yet. lol

When the temperature finally inched upward to a balmy 30 degrees, I attempted to switch Rudy back to his outdoor house. He balked. When he wouldn’t go inside his den on his own, I tried to push him inside. He planted his back feet down firmly and wouldn’t budge. The harder I tried to “help,” the more he resisted. Apparently he preferred being on the chair in the cold rather than in the trash can in the cold. Poor little thing.

Going out the patio door one day, I was surprised to see one of the pillows sticking out of Rudy’s den. Funny, I thought to myself. Rudy isn’t sleeping in there  . . . and hubby isn’t in the “dog house” at the moment, so who or what could be disturbing the pillows? It was time to investigate. It would be dark in the trash can, so I pulled the pillow out, and tossed it aside. There was just enough light as I bent down and peered in.

The trash can was . . . occupied! What? Who had the audacity to set up squatter’s rights in Rudy’s house? It looked like the fur of a light-colored cat, and I supposed it was one of garden-variety critters that regularly jaywalked our property. Then my presence disturbed the occupant . . . and it looked up. I immediately recognized its snout. That was NOT a cat face. You already know from the picture above . . . it was a possum! Yuck! They are such ugly creatures.

Now it was perfectly clear why Rudy did not want to sleep in there! Bug-eyed, I backed away from the den and immediately hurried to find my hubby. Grabbing a broom, my hero poked and prodded at the intruder until, hissing and growling, it begrudgingly vacated the trash can . . . and with further “assistance,” vacated our yard. Hopefully he won’t return, but there are no guarantees. He definitely won’t stop trying if I leave the trash can on its side, inviting him to return where he had been snug and warm.

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

The possum in this illustration is not a “roaring lion,” but he did barge in uninvited and planned to stay. This is what the enemy does in our lives if given the opportunity, doesn’t he? Satan is sneaky, conniving, and dishonest. He may seem harmless, but don’t be fooled. He preys on the weak and the grieving, to cause further death and pain wherever possible. If not ousted, he considers himself an invited guest . . . and nothing could be further from the truth!

Verse shared from the New International Version (NIV)



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