Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dog Saves Woman from Rabid Squirrel
Sometime between 5 and 5:30 PM yesterday I heard Carmella barking and clawing at the kitchen window which leads to the back porch. I knew that neighborhood dogs sometimes passed through on either side of my house but this didn't seem like something just passing through, as she continued to bark and claw at the window sill for over 10 minutes, so I came in to see what was out there. I looked out the windows in the back door next to the kitchen and saw a squirrel latched onto the screen on the outside of the wooden framework of the porch. It was making quite a fuss, and strangely did not make a move to run when it saw me just a few feet away. In fact it strained forward on the screen as if to meet the potential threat of a larger predator head-on, riveted to my every move. A former roommate's dogs had torn out the screen from the panel just below but it clung there right where it was, the only thing preventing it from hurling itself in my direction; that it didn't seem to see the open area just beneath. Despite the barrier it just kept making these staccato raspy chirps, the kind squirrels make to other squirrels to challenge another, and staring me down. I have had a problem with squirrels chewing through my fascia boards at the perimeter of my roof overhang for some time now and now hear them gnawing on the wood for hours every day for the past few months, and this must have been one that had been making its home inside my overhang and just popped out one of the holes.

I thought maybe if I got a little closer and scared it off with a stick it would dissapear into the woods, but no such luck. It just seemed more intent on me and Carmella. I let Carmella out to scare it off and rather than going the other way and making its easiest escape up any number of trees it scurried horizontally across the the screen, then turned upside down, head first, and jumped onto the back porch floor and ran straight at me! People think of squirrels as benevolent, innocent, sweet little harmless creatures, but not this one! This monster had come straight from the bowels of hell! It was the stuff that nightmares and horror movies are made of.

I yelled for Carmella to get it and she ran to my side and intercepted it just as it was a few inches from my left foot. That's when I knew for sure it had to be rabid because as she snapped it up it was snarling like an angry cat, as if it really thought it could take Carmella on, unaware of their difference in size. Lucky for Carmella she is up to date on her rabies shot. I wouldn't have been so lucky if I'd been attacked since humans are not vaccinated for rabies. At first snap, Carmella took half its tail clean off and then grabbed hold of the middle of its body. It seemed crazed, almost posessed. Normally Carmella's strong jaws killed  a squirrel in just two bites but this one seemed to keep going and going. If she didn't kill it the backyard wouldn't be a safe place for either of us to walk in. A few more bites from Carmella's powerful jaws while shaking it violently and it finally was dead.

Despite all its carrying on it had not bitten Carmella. Carmella had been quicker, Thank God. There may be more rabid squirrels as the disease can spread from one animal to another and I heard one this morning at 6 AM again chewing on the corner of my house, so today I am going to see if I can find out who to report the animal I saw to. There are children living in the neighborhood, so I don't want any more of these to endanger the people on this street.

Thanks to Carmella, I avoided a trip to the ER and a painful rabies series. She amazes me with her loyalty and protection every day and I consider her a hero. But I think if you were able to ask her she'd tell you that's just what friends/family do. They are there with you when threats cross your path, right in there with you to fight that which could be your undoing in one form or another. If not for her I don't know what I would have done.