Friday, June 24, 2011

An interesting life

Yesterday was an interesting day. Bear in mind that one of the most powerful gypsy curses is said to be, "May you lead an interesting life." Yeah - yesterday was interesting like that. We'll skip the fact that I had a migraine, because there is nothing interesting about those, but keep it in mind through the rest of this post. It just adds to it.

On the good news side, we have a new baby lamb. I let the sheep out of their small pasture in the morning, and discovered the addition. Momma was quite protective and I had a hard time getting a good photo, but here's the best I managed. Last night when I locked them up again, I managed to catch the lamb napping, and checked gender. It's a boy. He looks good and strong, and kept up with Momma and the rest of the flock very well yesterday. I'm sure he's going to do just fine.


Now, to change the topic a bit. Did you know that the Pacific Northwest is considered to be essentially free of terrestrial rabies? Neither did I, until last night.

About 9:20 or so last night, the dog very politely rang the bell to go outside (We have trained our dogs to ring a bell on the door when they want to go outside. It cuts down on the noise and confusion), so I got up and let them out. The minute the door was open, Bailey tore down the porch, with Sprout hot on her heals. Now this is not too unusual. There is one cat in particular that Bailey dislikes, so I slip on my shoes and go outside to rescue the poor cat. As soon as I get out, however, I realize it was not a cat they were going after. It was a raccoon. And not your typical run when challenged raccoon either. This one had turned around and was fighting back at Bailey. Now, Bailey, being the chocolate lab coward that she is, turned tail and headed back to me. Great, wonderful. Sprout was still behind them, but at least he was trying to get a hold of the 'coon. I was trying to keep Bailey out of the house, because the last thing I needed was a 'coon inside. I was hollering for Sarah to get me a gun when the 'coon let go of Bailey and grabbed hold of my leg. That was when the hollering degenerated to screaming like a girl. The damn thing was holding onto my left leg and looking up at me and growling. I was screaming and hollering and jumping around (and probably kicking too, from the way my foot feel). Sprout was trying to figure out how to help, and Bailey was still trying to get into the house. I managed to get the thing off my leg, although I have no idea how, and Sarah handed me the 22. I looked quick to make sure it was loaded. No clip. I got inside with Bailey (Sprout was out in the yard still), and got a clip. Back out I went. No 'coon in sight. I figured it had gotten scared off by all the ruckus and called Sprout back in. We all came in and I realized I had blood on my pants. And my knee was starting to hurt. I looked down, and there was a hole ripped in my pants. I made it a little bigger (it was quick and the pants were already ruined anyway), and saw that I had two small punctures and a fairly deep rip in my leg.

I sent Steve a photo of it (the convenience of cell phones and unlimited messaging plans) and called him at work. He said that yes, I needed to go to the ER. I was kind of shaking at this point, so I called Mom to see if she could drive me. She said, "Of course." so I made sure I had my insurance card and my ID and stepped out the door. The raccoon was at the far end of the porch growling at me. I came back in a grabbed the (now loaded) 22 and engaged in battle. I put 4 bullets into the dang thing and it still didn't die. It did, however disappear from my sight. I was hurting and angry, but I wasn't stupid, so I did not go searching for it in the dark. Instead, I kept my flashlight out and took the rifle with me to the car, and went to get Mom for the drive to the ER.

The check-in lady had never had to type, "Attacked by a raccoon" into the incident description before, and we were the subject of much conversation. Apparently this is not a regular occurrence. But, the doctor checked with infectious diseases, and was given the information that the Pacific Northwest is nearly free of rabies. The only wild animals that have tested positive for rabies in the last 10 years are bats and foxes. That fact, coupled with the fact that it was claws that got me and not teeth (remember it was looking up at me and growling while attached to my leg) saved me from the torture of a rabies vaccination regime. Just for information, the first dose has to be infused around the site of the bite. The three more doses are required at days 4, 7, and 21. And I'm told they hurt - a lot. But, at least I didn't have to experience it first hand.

This morning, I'm sore and tired, and kind of angry. I was going to get on the horses this weekend, but given the state of my knee and foot, that's not going to happen. So, I'm considering a more deadly addition to my arsenal. I need something bigger than a 22, but nicely precise so the scatter (like a shotgun) doesn't take a bite out of the house. Remember, we were on the porch, and I was shooting parallel to the house wall. I'm open to suggestions. At this point, we've got a 357 magnum that Steve says we can load with 38's to make it easier to shoot, but still more deadly than a 22. I suck with a handgun, but I know someone who can teach me to get better. I'd rather have a rifle somewhere between a 22 and 30-06. Like I said, I'm open to suggestions.

Today, I'm calling Fish and Wildlife to see if they know anyone nearby with 'coon hounds. I'm thinking we may need to go hunting. In the meantime, no going out after dusk without a rifle and flashlight.