Friday, August 19, 2005

Disposing of the body

Most of my gardens only demand manual watering in July and August - one of the advantages of living in the pacific northwest. My tiny handmade pond beneath the willow tree needs to be replenished most frequently, but I tend to forget which works out for the best because then it's nearly empty by the end of August and I can clean it out. (No fish, just a water feature that my dog believes is her private drinking pool.)

So yesterday evening, I check on the pond to see if it's at a good cleaning level yet. The fountain and pump at the shallow end are completely exposed; the deep end still has some water but not much...and what's that? Some large dark lump poking out of the remaining water - did one of the large rocks fall in?

Grab a plastic rake to get the "rock" out. One rolls over, and I realize that I'm looking at a dead animal. A possum, probably, but I'm too grossed out to look closely to tell.

Several moments of "omg, my puppy drinks here...what do I DO with it...I'll run and get Dave across the street to, I'll call my brother", but eventually I face the fact that I'm a grown adult and should be able to handle this situation on my own.

Shovel. Heavy gloves. Many industrial-strength garbage bags. Terrified that I'll slip and fall in the water while flashing back to that horrid movie we saw in school, "Red Badge of Courage", where John-Boy is running and falls headfirst into a cow's corpse.

But I manage without disaster and don't throw up.

And when it's thoroughly packaged and the pond covered up, I dump it in the garbage can. "Can I do that?" I wonder. "Will the garbage police report me for improperly disposing of an animal carcass?"

But a web search reassures me. In our county, to dispose of a dead animal under 15 pounds: place it in several plastic garbage bags and put it in the household garbage can. Who would have guessed...


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