A Close Call With Rabies

At 9:30 on a sunny July morning, the screaming starts: a ragged, half-human keen that pierces the halcyon woods flanking our western Pennsylvania home. My wife, Debbie, our 11-year-old son, Jack, and I run outside to see what’s being murdered. There, beside a patch of Big Boy tomatoes, stand our two pugs, Lefty and Biscuit, with something scruffy and feral wedged between them. It takes a moment to realize what exactly is happening. A 20-pound raccoon has affixed its teeth to the jowly flesh of Biscuit’s muzzle and won’t let go.

I grab a shovel and pin the raccoon’s torso to the ground, which only intensifies the creature’s screams. Putting my full weight into it, I try to shovel the attacking beast in half. Debbie grabs Biscuit’s trunk and tries to yank her free, but the raccoon’s teeth refuse to unclamp. Debbie yells for our friend Rudy Plese, who’s inside working on a carpentry job. He runs out and grabs another shovel.

“Hit it on the head,” shouts Debbie, whose own hands are now perilously close to the raccoon’s teeth. Rudy raps the beast’s brainpan once, then again, and again.

FK – Of course no one had the presence of mind to get a gun and kill it without touching it, not to mention at least one of the ‘adults’ in this situation should have had a firearm within ready reach. Is a family pet worth endangering the entire family?

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