The Time I Almost Got Rabies

It’s easier for me to talk about my childhood/teenagehood, because the atmosphere back then is much lighter and less stressful than current times. So, let’s go back to 2007. I was dyeing my hair BBQ red, had (finally) finished High School, and had gotten into College. It was summer 2007. I was probably listening to Green Day. Who wasn’t?

My family is friends with a very nice and cool family. The dad is a veterinarian who runs his own practice and I always loved going over to their house, surrounded by various animals and playing with their kids.

So, when my mom asked if I wanted to work with Dr. Steve for the summer, I was excited.

My mom pumped me up. “I sometimes come into the clinic to help out, and I just hold the fuzzy animals. It’s very fun!”

So, I went in for my first day. The disgruntled teenager that I was, I was annoyed work started at 7:15 AM. But, my first day went fine. It was mostly cleaning and occasionally “helping” in the examination room, where you have to put your hand on the cat or dog’s butt so they won’t back off the table when they’re getting their shots. I was good at that.

Although I do love animals, I still don’t have a lot of experience caring for and treating them. I was definitely out of my element when I had to hold the animal steady. There were many times when I bent down to pick up a teeny dog and it growled at me and I chickened out and the owner would lift the 5 lb thing on the table, rolling their eyes. Also, I duno if you’ve ever tried to hold a cat still, but it is freaken impossible. They are like, half liquid. You legit have to hold their head in a kind of wrestling move that I think is called “The Sleeper.”

So a few weeks into this job where I’m not very confident and very sleepy, a couple comes in with this sad, mewing cat in a giant dog crate.

“We got him in, we’re not sure if he had contact with the bat,” the woman was telling the vet tech.

It is a small clinic. It’s not like I was in the other room. The cat clearly was probably in contact with a bat.

So they bring the cat in this huge crate into the examination room and I come in with them, standing at the ready. I had enough practice of “The Sleeper” that I knew how to hold the cat still.

So, the couple start explaining what happened, and how much contact their cat had with this nefarious bat. Dr. Steve peered into the cage. The sad cat peered back at him, backed all the way deep into the crate.

Then they talk some more.

And some more.

I start to space out. Listening to people talk is boring.

Then after ten minutes, I got an idea. “Maybe,” I think, “I can hurry this up if I can take the cat out of the crate. Then they can start all the tests and stuff to see if it has rabies.”

Yup. Those were my thoughts. Touch the cat. See if it has rabies. For sure.

I open the crate. The Dr. and the couple were still talking, but Dr. Steve gave me a confused look.

“Here, kitty,” I say, reaching my hand into the giant crate.

The cat backed its way into the crate so it basically was part of the back wall of the crate.

I tried to tilt the crate to slide the cat out.

Dr. Steve then goes, “Alana, close the cage.”

I closed the cage.

There was a long, awkward silence.

Then I left the room.

Honestly, the full impact of what I did didn’t really hit me until like, way later. I’m glad I never touched the cat. And, if your pet is in any contact with a bat, bring it to the vet as soon as possible. Putting said pet in a giant crate is not necessary, but can help prevent a clueless high school worker stay alive a little longer.

I never did find out if that cat had rabies. At least that story has a happy ending though, right?

English teacher by trade, story writer for fun