Sarah Avery (dr_pretentious) wrote,
Sarah Avery

No, Seriously, A Rabid Skunk (We're Pretty Sure)

Last Garbage Day, not wanting to scare me in front of our toddler, Dan piled so many euphemisms into his warning about the rabid skunk that I thought he was telling me a funny anecdote, and as soon as he'd washed his hands and gone back on baby duty, I promptly went back to sleep.

Imagine my surprise when, hours later, I took Gareth out to see the garbage truck go by, and one of the neighbors ran down the street in a panic to warn me to get that baby inside right now and stay there until the Animal Control people arrived. Didn't I know the rabid skunk had last been seen in my yard, crawling under the bush right next to me?

The problem with Animal Control is that they don't actually want to find rabid animals. Well, would you? When they finally arrived, they drove one slow pass down our block, and when the rabid skunk wasn't in the open right where it had been reported to them three hours earlier, they drove off as if they were fleeing the scene of a crime. If they'd gotten out of their van, knocked on doors, and asked any of us, there was some risk we'd have told them where the skunk was, and then they'd have had to do something about it.

So I called the town to say the skunk was now under my porch, and we really needed Animal Control to come back and get it. "I've got a restless toddler who's begging to go outside," I said. "Explaining rabies to an 18-month-old is really hard. I don't know what I'll do if we're stuck in the house all day."

Here's the part that really blows my mind: On a 70 degree cloudy day with occasional moments of light drizzle, the town dispatcher's response to Animal Control's negligence was to say, "Well, I hope you're not letting a toddler outside to play on a day like today!"

My son is not made of spun sugar; light drizzle will not melt him. Keeping him locked up in the house all day would require television sooner or later. I'm pretty sure that wanting Animal Control to collect the rabid skunk from under my front porch does not make me a negligent parent.

Days later, what's still getting under my skin? Is it the fact that the rabid skunk had moved on by the time Animal Control got back, and it's never been found yet?

No, it's that some stranger on the phone impugned my motherly devotion.

How weird is that?
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