Once I was walking in Prospect Park with a friend. A baby squirrel approached… and kept coming. Like a puppy it jumped on my boot, but then unlike most puppies it started to climb up my leg. I shook it off, gently, but it wasn’t really deterred. It scampered behind as if it was having a fine old frolic, following me. I felt guilty for not taking it home.
I was reminded of this brush with fatherhood when I heard the news about the raccoon dropped off at the Animal Care and Control Center in Manhattan the other day. Turns out to have been rabid, so the Department of Health is looking for the duo that brought the critter in. Evidently there hasn’t been a case of human rabies in NYC in fifty years, although I find that hard to believe considering some of the mouth-foamers I’ve run across on the subway over the years. What really got my ears going, though, was that the couple bringing in the animal were wearing… scrubs. Cue ominous music, call the President’s Fiction Advisor, Michael Crichton.
I’ve seen raccoons in both Central and Prospect Parks. I’ve seen a coyote in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. But I’ve never seen a rabid animal, barring Dick Cheney.