One of the more pleasant by-products of our week not in Syracuse, my dear wife Karen and I pretty quickly decided as we lounged around the cottage in Cape Cod, was the more relaxed state of Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle.
Our beloved rescue mutt had dismissed the thought of our backyard gopher. And so she lounged on the lawn. She stretched on the back deck. She sat with us on the patio. She joined Karen on the hammock.
But now for Ellie B, it’s back home, back on guard dog duty.
The elements in the backyard of our city neighborhood home of Eastwood are perfect for the gopher to hang out.
Our one-story, which we’ve affectionately bestowed with the nickname “Little Bitty,” needs every square inch of our shed.
Snowy winters and wet springs mean the shed must be propped up on cinder blocks.
Those blocks give a crawl-space living room perfect for a gopher. (Skunks, too, which I’ve written about here previously with a crinkled nose.)
This gopher home sits just feet away from a furry animal smorgasbord, and the fence around the increasingly lush butterfly garden has slats narrow enough to keep out Ellie B but wide enough to allow in gopher boy (or girl).
A week or so before the trip to Cape Cod, I let the dog out around 6 a.m. for her morning business, to be quickly greeted by a barking frenzy.
I scurried out to find Ellie on this side of the garden fence, digging furiously and staring at the gopher, hissing defiantly on the other side of the garden fence, standing down not an inch. As I wrestled the dog with great effort across the lawn toward the porch steps, the stinking gopher chased the dog.
Safely inside, I googled backyard gophers, saw the mention of teeth, dog fights, courage …
Karen and I knew we must do something about our backyard gopher, for Ellie B’s peace and the sleeping sanctity of our immediate neighbors. The first morning back, the gopher’s head emerged from under the shed as soon as I let the dog out on the backyard porch at 6 a.m., so I walked Dogamous Pyle on a leash out front.
I wondered if the Critter Ridder that had worked pretty well against our porch rafter nemesis, the winter-chewing squirrels, would work if thrown liberally under the shed.
But when talking about the gopher with Good Neighbor Tim, he’d mentioned how others on the block who’d shared backyard grounds with the furries had purchased traps and then released them in the wild, miles away from the city.
Karen googled humane gopher traps and found a suitably sized contraption available at a nearby big box.
We pulled it out of its box, read the instructions.
I sliced a banana and cut up an apple, foods said to get gophers salivating, or whatever gophers do when they’re ready to eat. Stick out their littlest nail, maybe.
The food is in the rear of the cage, the spring-trigger door is loaded, the trap is in the butterfly garden, near the spot of the gopher-Ellie B stand-down.
The wait is on.
I know where I want to take the gopher to start its new life, yonder by Green Lakes State Park, far enough away from here that the smart furry can’t find its way back.
I must admit, though, that I’m not looking forward to actually having to release the animal from the trap. The trap box suggests to throw a cover over the trap to calm the animal inside. With luck, I will test my nerves and that statement. Tim said perhaps we can rig some wire to the door to allow opening from afar …
Have you ever had an animal that you didn’t want sharing your living space, and what went down when you did? Do you think you’d be able to humanely trap an animal and bring it somewhere in the wild for release? What would you do if you were in this situation?