Today, while raking the back lawn, I found a dead bird. I think it used to be a red headed woodpecker, but I didn't want to look too closely. I admit it, I'm squeamish. I hate when things come to my yard to die. Luckily, my wonderful husband isn't squeamish at all, and he doesn't complain about disposing of dead things. He has disposed of a field mouse (the dogs were rolling in it), several opossums (I started calling the garden "The Secret Opossum Burial Ground"), and a baby groundhog.
The first dead thing he got rid of for me was an Iguana, way back when we were dating. I first saw the iguana on a warm sunny October afternoon, while I was working in the garden. I noticed that my Borzoi was stalking something. (She may have been stealthy, but I always knew when she was up to something.) I ignored her, as I figured whatever it was could either fly or scamper away, or was on the other side of the fence. To my horror, I saw her snatch a large lizard off a tree trunk where it had been sunning itself. She started capering around the yard, tossing, catching and shaking the lizard. Although I hated to ruin her fun (she did look very cute), I ran over to her and demanded in a stern voice, "Drop the lizard!" She did, and I dragged all 85 pounds of her into the house. I then called the police department to see if anyone reported their iguana missing. I was told by the operator at the police department that, as it was a Sunday afternoon, I needed to call 911 to report that I had an iguana in my yard. I felt a little silly, but I made the call. A short while later, the doorbell rang. I answered to find a uniformed police officer with his police car's emergency lights flashing. With a straight face, he asked, "You reported an iguana in your yard?" I took him out back, but the iguana was gone. I assumed it had left my yard. I thought that was the last of the iguana, but no. It had gotten very cold that night and the iguana must have been injured, because in February, I noticed what looked like a black garbage bag in one of the Forsythias. On closer inspection, I discovered it was a freeze-dried iguana. Yuck! That evening, my husband (then-boyfriend) came over and removed the iguana for me. He did admit that it was rather disgusting.
I guess finding dead critters is just a part of gardening, but it's one that's rarely mentioned in garden writing. I wonder why?