(A highly cropped image of the fox -- I was NOT that close when taking the photo!)
(And here it is, going about its business crossing the street from our house to our neighbor's.)
And here's the story I promised:
We'd been seeing the fox for a few days, just as I've shown you here. The first photo was taken at the end of our street, at the point where we'd see the fox coming and going -- we figured its den was back there. It looked healthy, and it appeared uninterested in the human activity on the street.
So early one Sunday morning (2 weeks ago), it emerged from it's nook of the woods just as Biscuit and I passed by (about 75 feet away or so). It paused a moment, then began its travel across the street. Biscuit and I had stopped so that it could ignore us and just go on its way without feeling threatened. However, it veered off its path and headed toward us.
I then started slowly backing up, but as I moved it started running toward us. Realizing I couldn't outrun it, I stamped my foot hard on the ground and yelled "NO!" It leaped onto my leg and bit me, just above my foot. Of course it was the first morning of the season that I'd gone out in shorts instead of jeans. As it leaped onto me I tried to jump backwards, and in the process fell down as it bit me.
In that one moment, as the fox was jumping onto me and I was falling, I had this instant vision of the situation becoming horrible -- of the fox really mauling me. I knew I couldn't let that happen so I was up on my feet again very quickly. Biscuit was barking like mad (we always walk him on leash and I still had him) and letting the fox know he was eager for a fight.
The fox and Biscuit circled each other, snarling and swiping and gnashing teeth. I was screaming for help to no avail. Eventually the fox decided Biscuit was too much trouble and ran back into the woods. We have not seen it again since.
So it turns out that rabies treatment is NOT as bad as it used to be. Never for a moment hesitate to get treatment if you've been potentially exposed. This morning I had my final vaccination, and just have a slightly stiff arm to show for it. The process is more annoying for requiring you to go back for three treatments after the initial treatment.
I've learned since that this was a gray fox, and that Biscuit could have easily chased it up a tree if not caught and killed it. Not that I want to see an animal get killed, but Biscuit has HAD his rabies vaccinations and he could have prevented me (and perhaps anyone else) from being bitten. I mistakenly believed it was my job to protect him, when in reality I should have let him protect me. Kind of like the business of never following an animal onto ice if the animal has fallen through -- the animal has a much better chance of surviving than the human. Lesson learned.
I'm looking forward to the return of an ordinary life!