Sunday, November 16, 2003

I know it has been a long time. I am temporarily at my parents' house back in Ohio. I hope to be able to travel again, soon.

My parents have a farmhouse in a sort of desolate area. There are fields all around it, so animals are attracted to the yard & buildings for shelter after harvest. Raccoons have been tearing up the roof & soffits to get into the attic, so my dad bought a live trap. My sister's boyfriend has been taking care of setting the traps while my dad has been ill. Yesterday, I discovered a skunk in the trap. I felt bad for it (they eat the grubs in the lawn that attract moles, so I consider it a beneficial animal) and fed it a piece of chicken but otherwise gave it a wide berth, because I did not know if it would spray me if I got close (I dropped the chicken through the bars of the cage).

Today, I felt really bad for the poor skunk. It was raining, and he was getting soaked. I decided spray or not, I was going to set him free; so I opened the door of the cage, but he didn't come out.

I thought maybe he was weak from being in the trap with little food, so I threw another piece of chicken towards the cage. Unfortunately, I missed, and it landed just outside the bars, but he started picking pieces off. I figured maybe he was afraid of me, so I went in the house, and watched out the window to see if he left the cage. That is when my sis & her boyfriend showed up.

He had brought a gun to shoot the skunk. I tried to sway him to just let the skunk walk away, because I had already started to entertain ideas of befriending it and possible names for it, but he said that it wasn't leaving the cage, and it might be rabid, so it was best if I just go in the house. I was going to protest more, but I didn't have an immediate answer to the rabies argument. Inside, I remembered that rabid animals have a great need for water, and then it dawned on me that the poor thing hadn't had anything to drink except rain for at least two days, so I started filling a container with water. I figured that would get it out of the cage, and give us a better chance to see how it acted. As I was filling the bowl, I heard the shot. I just tipped the water back out, and went into the other room.

The first shot didn't kill. It just knocked the skunk farther back into the cage and triggered the door to close again. The second, third & fourth shots didn't faze it either. Neither did the next six. When the boyfriend came inside the house, I asked him if he had finally hit it, or was he gonna have to reload. He laughed but then said that it must be super skinny and all fluffy fur, because it just kept moving. He said if the next shot didn't get it, he was just going to go home, because it wasn't from this world if it could survive all that. By that time, I was just wanting it to be over. I just thought the poor thing was being tortured. He finally got it with the fourteenth shot - he hit the skunk in the face, and took half its head off.

Skunks spray when they die. They spray a lot. So now tonight, everything has a sulfur smell, and I have a constant reminder of something I am not proud of. The next one I know I will set free immediately. If I wear leather gloves, I should be safe from being bitten. I think. Wish me luck.

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