Saturday, January 28

Rabid Family

Since hunting season is over, John just couldn't go another minute without shooting something. This afternoon, about 3:30 (Sat) my 9 year-old Eric came screaming and crying to the back door. As I was letting him in, he explained through sobs that there was a rabid animal attacking our dog, Max, in the front yard. After investigating, John saw the raccoon which was hunching down under our front porch. Although he feined worry, he ran upstairs (I saw the big grin on his face) and grabbed his ever-at-the-ready shotgun. He put two bullets under our porch while screaming wildly at our dog to stay back. I haven't checked yet to see if either of the shots went through our wall in our basement.

We have experience with this sort of thing. Our house seems to be a magnet for crazy animals. Two summers ago, a raccoon came on our porch and bit our dog. The raccoon was foaming at the mouth and we were pretty sure that it had rabies. At the advice of the DEC, we bagged the raccoon and sent it for rabies testing. They advised us to look the dog over and we found a bite mark on her ankle and proceed to give the dog a bath. Our kids were in bed at the time but in the excitement they got up to see what was going on. They DEC assured us that it would be fine to have contact with our dog. On the Monday morning after, we received a call that the raccoon was indeed rabid and that anyone having contact with the dog would need to have the rabies series. Since that involved everybody in our family, I uncharacteristically panicked.

I began to cry and started calling all the area health departments, my family doctor, my children's pediatrician, the vet as well as the physicians for whom I do transcription. I got a different story from everyone I talked to about the risks and what steps we should take. I even checked the internet which seemed to be the most reliable source of information I got. Let's just say there seems to be no one in this rabies-prone area that actually knows what to do in the case of a rabies emergency. The bottom line was that John and I knew for sure we had touched the dog when she had wet rabid saliva on her fur. We weren't sure if the kids had or not. If any of us contracted rabies, we would not know until it was too late for treatment, and the treatment is 100 percent effective. For that reason, we all went through an extrememly painful and drawn-out series of shots and my poor kids have never gotten over it.

This time, "mad hunter" did all the shooting, bagging, checking, bathing and if anybody gets shots, it'll be him. The rest of us stayed clear.

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