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It's A Funny Business


Animal Rescue Extraordinaire

by Ranger Kidwell-Ross (as told by Mark Farrell)

While sweeping one of our centers the other morning, I noticed as I was coming along the back of the building that the guy I had picking up trash in the grassy areas was acting unusual. Specifically, he was waving his arms somewhat frantically and pointing at something, but I couldn't see what it was. Then, as I drove closer, I noticed what had him excited was a skunk running around the parking lot. Although I then figured he must be waving in order to alert me of the skunk, as I got closer I saw there was more to it than that.

The animal didn't look right, not like a normal skunk, anyway. I eventually got close enough to see that the poor thing had his snout trapped inside a Dannon yogurt container. It was stuck onto its nose and face and, although it was trying, it couldn't manage to get the tightly wedged container to come off.

Not wanting the skunk to have to go through life like that, or starve to death is more like it, I hopped out of the sweeper and tried to give the fellow an assist. By this time, my employee was both waving and yelling, things to the effect that I was insane to try to go up to a skunk, that I was just going to get sprayed, etc. I think he was maybe worried he'd have to ride around all night with me smelling like a skunk. Still, I thought I should give a shot at helping.

I got up to the skunk okay, and bent down and tried to pull the cup off. No dice, it wouldn't come off. Since he couldn't really see where he was going, when I let go of the cup the skunk walked around banging into the curbs. That gave me an idea, and I headed for the truck and got the shovel. I got back to the skunk, shovel in hand and, luckily, as he was banging into the curb he flipped the yogurt cup up to where it was overhanging the curb a little bit.

That was my chance. I reached out with the shovel and pushed down on the end of the cup and the little guy was able to get enough backward traction to finally pull the cup off. My instant response at that point was to take off running. When I looked back, I was quite relieved to see that I while was running one way, the skunk was running the other. By then, I'm not sure who was the most relieved, me, the skunk or my employee!

This article is reprinted from American Sweeper magazine, Volume 8 Number 1, 2000.

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