Last night I went out for my run, and over by Strang Park I was stopped in my tracks by an overwhelming, horrible smell. I knew it was the smell of death. I turned to see a very large, very dead possum on the side of the road in a serious state of decay. It instantly reminded me of the demons overtaking the giant boar in Princess Mononoke. I shuddered and kept running, but of course couldn't help thinking of my little possum at home.
I came home and fed him again, and he seemed okay, though a little quieter than he has been, and he wanted to go right back into his makeshift pouch, the inner pocket of my fleece jacket. When I took him out for his late night feeding, he was even more sluggish but did eat a little. I could see the writing on the wall.
So I wasn't terribly surprised that my furry lil' mascot didn't make it through the night. I suppose his injuries were just too great. It makes me sad; I knew his paralysis was a huge concern, but he seemed to be rallying, so I had hope. Prey animals are hard to keep because they will hide their pain and injuries at all costs.
If his story and photos convinced even one person to look at possums as more than a nuisance than he fulfilled an important purpose. I buried him in the side yard under the lilies of the valley, covered his site with azalea blossoms, and will keep fond memories.