OPINION — Most of the time news is bad, or else it wouldn’t be news. Our environment is full of dangerous and destructive forces, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, Kardashians, and congress, so there’s plenty of bad news. But once in a while you run across an item that renews your faith in humanity, and the story of Andrea Athie and the coyote is one of those. It’s kind of like Peter and the Wolf, except totally different.
Andrea, who lives in Ciudad Victoria, Mexico, was driving home recently when she noticed a dog beside the road with a broken leg. Being a caring, concerned person, Andrea picked up the dog and took it to a local vet, who informed her that the dog wasn’t a dog, but a coyote. But since it’s evidently not illegal in Mexico to keep a wild animal captive, as it is in the U.S., the vet treated the coyote, and hopes to release it soon.
Above: Andrea Athie and her "pet."
This is exactly the sort of thing that warms my heart. We need more people like Andrea, who are willing to go the extra mile to support wildlife. Granted, she might not have picked up the ‘yote if she’d known what it was, but still, you gotta give her credit. Without people like Andrea we might one day find ourselves with no coyotes to shoot at, and who wants to live in such a world?
Most encounters with wild animals don’t go as well as Andrea’s did, however. Four hunters were recently attacked by grizzly bears in Montana during a ten-day period. A shark bit a scuba diver’s kayak off Catalina Island in Southern California. A woman in Florida was bitten by an alligator after she stepped on it. And rangers in national parks are warning visitors in North Carolina and Tennessee to avoid getting too close to the elk there, because they’ve become aggressive. The elk, not the visitors. Also not the park rangers, although they can get pretty salty if they catch you littering.
And then there’s the story of Big Boy, a billy goat that lives on a farm near Sullivan, Ohio. Well, he lives there most of the time. Big Boy recently decided to go on the lam, and was missing for about a week, until 18-year-old Logan Keathley came home one day and found a sliding-glass door broken out, and his family’s German shepherd acting agitated in the driveway. When Logan went into the house he was hit by the horrible stench of billy goat urine. Big Boy had made himself at home, and was, at the moment, taking a nap in the bathroom.
Logan called his mom, who called the police, and Ashland County deputies tried to entice Big Boy out of the bathroom with carrots, some grass, and a dog bone, but he wasn’t interested. They finally had to take the goat by the horns, literally, and drag him outside. It’s sort of a Goldilocks and the Three Bears kind of story, except with more urine. A lot more. The Keathleys are still trying to eradicate the odor, although my recommendation would be to move.
Big Boy’s owner, Andrew Watkins, said, “He’s never done anything like that before. I think he was drinking too much that night.” Which makes me wonder how much Big Boy usually drinks, and what’s going on in his life to make him go on a bender. There used to be a goat named Clay Henry down at Lajitas who would drink as many longnecks as visitors would buy him, but as far as I know he never broke into any houses. But then, he was also the mayor, so there you go.
As fascinating as Big Boy’s story is, it’s not the most interesting tale of human/animal interaction of late. That would be the one from the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete, Louisiana, which is called the Tiger Truck Stop because they used to have a tiger in a cage there. They don’t have a tiger anymore. Now they have a camel in a pen. Probably a liability thing.
Above: The Tiger Truck Stop
Anyway, a truck driver and her husband stopped there with their dog recently, and the husband started pitching dog treats into the camel’s pen, and the dog decided to crawl under the 6-foot fence after the treats. So then the truck driver, and her husband, went in after the dog. Oh, what a tangled web we weave.
In the process of retrieving the dog, the truck driver, or maybe her husband, shoved the camel, and the husband swatted it with his cap, whereupon the camel took offense at his treatment and sat on the truck driver who, seeing no other means of escape, bit the camel in a very personal region, namely Grosse Tete, Louisiana.
Actually, the woman bit the camel on the part that’s typically removed in the process of gelding, although I hesitate to name the anatomical item in question due to the delicate sensitivities of some readers. Suffice it to say that the bite motivated the camel to remove his derriere from the truck driver’s head, so it all worked out OK. Well, except for the camel’s injury, which should heal in time.
It’s sort of a Peter and the Camel story, except totally different . . .
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