(The one that bit:)
I’ve had rabies shots.
7 of them.
7 of them.
Because my parents didn’t want to see me frothing at the mouth and going out with a bang, “Old Yeller” style, they forked out the big bucks to take me back and forth to the hospital to get the 7 shots needed when a gal is bitten by a possibly rabid animal. It was awesome.
Let’s just say that rabies shots require BIG needles. Sitting in a normal fashion is difficult for days, and rolling onto your side at night is enough to make you want to groan in pain.
But it was worth it.
My family had a raccoon friend that frequently visited our back porch. He was the largest raccoon we had ever seen. Bold, sassy, and a little bit on the goofy side, we quickly went from concern to acceptance of this guy in our daily life. He went swimming in the pool, would hang out with our cats without a single altercation, and would try to walk right into the house if we weren’t quick enough with the treats when he demanded them. We named him Rocky.
Rocky later came back with his “wife” and “child.” As the years went by, and possibly generations of raccoons, we became uncertain about which raccoons we were currently feeding. Was it Mrs. Rocky? Was it Junior? Were we moving on to the grandchildren now? Who knew. After the huge Mr. Rocky, all the others pretty much looked the same.
One day, when I went to hand a treat to the current Rocky Progeny on our porch, he gave me the smallest little bite on my left middle finger before scampering away. It broke the skin.
Had I not been reading a book on animal rescue and how raccoons are the most common carrier of rabies, I might have brushed off this little nibble. However, as luck would have it, I was reading a book about a gal who rescued injured wildlife and the author had gone into great detail about the high levels of rabies in the raccoon population and how any bite should be treated like a potential death sentence. Once infected, of course, there is NO cure for rabies. Pretty much – if you get rabies, YOU DIE.
So, we went to the ER and started the process of getting the shots and animal control came to set up a trap on our porch so they could test the raccoon for rabies.
I was a bit ticked off about this trap on our porch. The only way to test for rabies is to dissect the animal’s brain. If the raccoon tested negative, I could discontinue the shots. Since I was fairly certain these shots were precautionary and the raccoon was healthy, I was completely against trapping it and was feeling guilty to the max about getting myself bitten.
Luckily, my parents understood the Animal Rights Wacko they had raised and they decided to give me an option. I would have to continue to go get all the treatment for possible rabies exposure and we would simply take the bait out of the trap and pretend the raccoon never came back. The animal control folks would never have to know.
It was a deal.
Well, the very next day, after the bait had been removed from the trap, the raccoon came back. Except this time, SHE wasn’t alone. Tumbling, scrambling, and making a ruckus behind her, were 7 little babies. Mama was worried, so Mama was ticked. She kept turning back to them, obviously trying to get them to go back home where it was safe. She looked tired, she looked overwhelmed, and she looked like she had her hands full.
She looked like the kind of Mama who just might take out a little of her frustration on an innocent bystander.
Every time I went back to get those painful shots, all I had to do was remember those cute little faces. (If you haven’t seen a baby raccoon, you have no idea what you’re missing – these little dudes are the very definition of adorable!)
I loved those little guys.
7 rabies shots to the butt = painful and expensive
Saving 7 little furry lives = priceless.