Distemper

You remember that raccoon I saw over the weekend in my parents’ neighbors’ yard? The one I was surprised to see, out in broad daylight, and was glad that the dog didn’t try to go after it?

Well. My mother spoke to the neighbors about it, and told them she thought it must be living in their woodpile. The neighbors were disinclined to do anything about it, and she thought the matter would rest there (until the raccoon went after our trash or something).

But yesterday, my dad spotted the raccoon again, in the yard of the neighbors on the other side. The raccoon was now not just out in broad daylight, but walking painfully and slowly like a geriatric raccoon, going in crazy circles, and stopping and starting in a very strange way.

So this time my parents did call Animal Control, tout suite, and sure enough, it turned out that our daylight raccoon was dying of distemper.

Luckily, it seems so far that all the animals in the neighborhood had been staying away from the raccoon, either because most small animals don’t like to mess with raccoons or because they sensed something was wrong. But we’ll have to wait and see.

The moral of the story:

1. If something strikes your instincts as weird, you should listen to it, at least to the extent of adopting caution and telling others. People tend to pooh-pooh their instincts as somehow ignorant and biased; but they’re what kept our ancestors alive long enough to have us. Yay, instincts!

2. Our guardian angels probably do a lot more than we realize. My guardian angel apparently works more than full time keeping me out of trouble. Thanks loads, Guardian Angel!

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