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September 12th, 2018

Animal Misadventures

As I trotted down into the parking lot yesterday after a slow Walkway run—the Rules say you have to be jogging when you touch your car—I noticed a small group of people standing around on the other side of the street.

I craned to see what they were looking at, and it was a woodchuck that had somehow gotten its head into a jar and was running around crazed.

Nobody appeared to be trying to help the little creature, so I got out of the car, walked across the street.

“Can you just shoe the little guy in my direction?” I asked one of the men.

“Careful it doesn’t scratch you!” said someone in the crowd.

But it was a pretty easy thing to grab the jar and let the woodchuck dangle. In a second, gravity did its work: The woodchuck was free! It scampered away.

###

This must be the season for animal misadventures.

The day before yesterday, I saw a little grey fox shivering miserably in the rain in front of Pat and Ed’s house. It must have been hit by a car.

Foxes require more caution than woodchucks.

A guy in a truck had noticed the fox, too, and had called the police. (What? They don’t have Animal Control in Hyde Park? Apparently not.) The cop rolled in while I was talking to the guy.

“We’ll have to put it down,” the cop said.

Why? I wondered. In California, they go to great lengths to save animals that are hurt and lying by the side of the road.

The truck driver and the cop tried to corral the fox so that they could pick it up, and it rose and ran—limping—across the road to the little copse of reeds and bushes on the road in front of my house.

“Doesn’t look like its leg is broken,” I said. “Why don’t you let it be?”

“Let nature take its course,” the truck driver said ponderously.

Either the fox will recover, or it will get eaten by a predator. There are a lot of coyotes in these parts, which is why my cats are indoor cats.

I felt very, very badly for the poor little fox! The day was so wet and so cold. Nature red in tooth and claw.

I wonder why I care so much about hurt animals and care so little about hurt humans?

As a sidebar, I’ll note that I’ve been seeing quite a few grey foxes around here, which is a bit odd: Grey foxes are supposed to live in the Western part of North America.

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