A frog-dog story from Miami
Begging your indulgence, yet again, I turn to the topic of my friendly neighborhood wildlife. Though my neighboring state’s governor might beg to differ (see what Georgia’s official peach has to say on endangered species, the drought and diverting rivers), the dear creatures in my backyard are a constant source of intrigue and an object of my compassion.
I refer, here, to my local frogs. I love them dearly. Though they occasionally hop on me as I write out of doors on my laptop, scaring the bejeezus out of me, their antics are as amusing as their presence is welcome. I enjoy nothing more than the graceful leaps and sucker-toed creeps of my sublunar friends.
I realize that I spend what may seem an inordinate amount of my energy blogging on my reptilian/amphibian company. But they’re every bit as fascinating to me as the nightly slinkings of the feral felines in my midst. Indeed, they’re no less worthy of my admiration and enjoyment, despite their cold-bloodedness.
Just this morning, I apprehended a sad-eyed tree frog in the indelicate process of freeing himself from the trap my sliding-glass door provided. He’d been nearly squashed when I exited the back door of my house in the course of my daily chore of plying Poppy, my spoiled-beyond-belief goat, with the timothy and alfalfa mix that rocks her world.
I’d spent nearly half an hour of tearful (how embarrassing!) approaches to the problem, all the while knowing that my son needed to get to school on time. Braving the condemnation of the principal’s office and the scourge of an “unexcused tardiness,” I labored hard on the poor tree frog’s behalf.
Just as I’d resigned myself to leaving the door ajar (something no Miamian dares do), the recognition of a tree frog’s nature led me to a startling revelation: I should present a sliver of an object for him to grab hold of. After rummaging among my cutlery, a fancy teak chopstick seemed just the thing. When I introduced the implement gently into the one-centimeter opening, sure enough, he grasped it.
Gently prying his pliable frame from the miniscule gap between the panes of glass, it was clear the brusque process of throwing the door open had exacted its toll. He was gaping in agony. One of his legs was sickeningly bent behind his body. And he appeared all but lost.
Gratefully, he emerged alive, gripping my fingers with a will I hadn’t dared to expect. I then placed him gently on the ground among the damp leaves in my back yard’s lush undergrowth—and I hoped for the best.
Lunchtime came and it seemed like the expected tragedy had been averted. He was gone, hopefully retreating to the dim wilds of his diurnal life. Dinnertime, however, proved me wrong. Silly Vincent (my adolescent Frenchie) emerged from the yard with a splay of amphibian limbs hanging gracelessly from his maw. Clearly this guy hadn’t survived my ministrations. I’d surely killed him with my evil suburban attractive nuisance—Vincent’s mouth merely sealed his fate.
Damned sliding glass door! I’ve consequently resolved to replace it with a proper French door as soon as finances will allow. 2010 perhaps? Maybe then my backyard creatures will only have to fear my car’s wheels, the windows, the ferals…and my wayward Frenchies.