Healthy Veggies, Unpredictable Moments
After weeks of 14-hour days, our commonsense side of the brain can be a bit off, as we are on such high alert for veggie health and COVID safety precautions. On my lunch break, sitting at Griffin Creek with Mabel, our 5-year-old golden retriever, I caught a glimpse out of the corner of my eye way down the creek of a mother raccoon and two small ones crossing a log. Immediately I assumed she was moving them to a safer tree area—no big deal. But then, out of nowhere, Mabel caught the same glance and without a second’s hesitation she was gone. Faster and more agile than my legs, she sprinted off to interrogate this raccoon crossing. All I can say is, “UGH!” By the time I had contained her back to safety, the mother had jumped on her back, both swimming in a deeper part of the creek, crying wails of raccoon and dog hurling through the air.
Resting on some rocks, Andrew came to help us and promptly checked Mabel over for injury. Miraculously and luckily, no bites or crazy wounds. Here comes the unforeseen moment—as he managed to grab a gob of saliva and look at it with the many farmer cuts on his hand, we realized immediately that a non-bite exposure to rabies may have just occurred.
The likelihood of rabies in raccoons in Western Washington, according to the health department, is extremely low as there has not been a case and given this was a healthy mama protecting her young from my not-so-smart provoking dog, chances are she is also rabies-free. However, given the unfortunate nature of rabies and no real cure, we decided to err on the cautious side and seek shots for all of us, including a booster for Mabel. Looking for post-exposure rabies vaccine during a global pandemic at the height of our season is not what the farmer needs.
This is when you know you really have no control over things. I tend to believe that everything has a reason for happening, and we are so grateful for our primary doc’s immediate assistance, but boy, this one seems rather out of the blue—or maybe not. In 1885, Louis Pasteur developed the earliest effective vaccine against rabies, which at the time must have felt a lot like our current frenzied race to develop a vaccine for the COVID-19 virus. I can only hope that maybe this is a sign that indeed the vaccines will become available sooner than later. To look forward to a time when, like rabies, you can get immediate responsive prophylaxis and immunization for COVID-19. Luckily, veggies are free of these viruses.