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Life Arts

Beyond the Call of Duty

By       Message Suzana Megles       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

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What would you do if you saw a skunk coming toward you with his head stuck in
a jar?  Sad to say, I think most people would high tail away from the poor creature
as fast as they could for fear of being sprayed.  But happily for this skunk, he
approached two very loving and caring women. 

Maureen and her friend Janet went to the Edwin B. Forsythe Wildlife Refuge to do
some bird watching.  After viewing some ducks and other birds, they spotted this poor
skunk approaching them after they stopped their car.  Unusual I'm sure for a skunk
to do this, but he obviously was in desperate straits having a jar stuck on his head. 
He crawled under their car, but the girls pulled him out and tried to remove the jar
which was really very stuck. 

What to do?  They put him in a large canvas bag which was in the car.  They managed
this with no little effort because he clearly didn't want to go into the bag.  The picture
was glum.  It was 30 degrees and they were in the middle of the refuge on a Saturday
afternoon.  Things would not get better as they headed for the refuge office.  They
found it closed on weekends.  They next called the New Jersey Fish and Game.  No luck
here either as obviously they too were closed on the weekends because no one answered.

But still they were enterprising enough to call 911.  They were told that they would try
to get animal control.  Another dead end because animal control said they couldn't help
wildlife.  But the dispatcher was kind enough to give them the number for a wildlife
rehabilitator in the area.  They called Suzanne Fenton and she told them that there
was a veterinarian hospital close by. 

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A half hour had elapsed, and they hoped their skunk was getting enough air as they
drove to the animal hospital.  They were allowed to bypass the understanding people
in the waiting room and directly took the canvas bag with the skunk into Dr. Lori
Nordt's office.

Dr. Nordt found that the stuck bottle had caused the poor skunk's neck to become swollen.
Lubrication didn't solve the problem, and the doctor realized that the skunk would have
to be given a sedative so that she could break the jar with a hammer.  When he had
relaxed, she placed him on his back to prevent the glass from getting into his eyes.  While
the glass shattered from the hammer blow, the rim of the glass remained around his neck
with the jagged edges sticking out.  She then pulled the rim up high toward his shoulder,
covered his eyes and hit the rim- finally releasing the skunk from his "iron mask."

Everyone, including this reader, was so relieved that the skunk was finally free of the
glass jar.   Because he was dehydrated, Dr. Nordt administered fluids and then put him
into a spare carrier.  The canvas bag and Janet's glove were discarded.  Dr. Nordt
accepted no payment for this wonderful, caring service.

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Suzanne Fenton, the rehabilitator was called and she met them half way.  She put
him in her van -while Maureen and Janet managed a huge sigh of relief.  What
beautiful caring ladies - the two rescuers, Dr. Lori Nordt, and Suzanne Fenton, the

Epilogue:  Maureen's car only smelled a little and she believes Nature's Miracle will
help clean and freshen her car.  She says that neither of them have any residual smell
on their bodies or clothes.  Of this experience, she asks everyone to please not litter. 
Their skunk was lucky, but many who have this terrible experience are not.

And then she wrote at the end:  "We probably broke a few laws today by removing
wildlife from a federal refuge, but we placed him with a licensed rehabilitator and we
saved his life.  There was no danger of rabies because his head was completely enclosed
and we were wearing heavy winter clothing.  I do not recommend placing a skunk in
your car.  But it was worth it!  From start to finish, the rescue took about 90 minutes,
and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life."

How beautiful and I agree that saving a life- no matter how small or wherever on the
ladder of life, is something to be very proud of.  Would that we have more people like
these four very special women.  Sadly, there are all too many who think killing animals
for "sport" is the ultimate.  I do not agree.  Saving lives is the ultimate for people of

Comments:  I love to read the comments.  Some are beautiful and from others I often
learn something new. 

A.W.  -- Angels do exist and flourish in all the people who ensured this skunk's

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Ace A.  --...contrary to public opinion, skunks do not always spray- my friend who rehabs
wildlife had to give a wild skunk a bath.  THREE times and each time the skunk DID NOT
SPRAY.  I myself have held a domestic-bred, not wild baby skunk in my arms and although
she was quite capable of doing so, she did not spray me --she nuzzled me!

Caitlin G. --As someone who seasonally has a newborn skunk family living in her barn,
I can say I loved hearing this.


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I have been concerned about animal suffering ever since
I received my first puppy Peaches in 1975. She made me take a good look at the animal kingdom and I was shocked to see how badly we treat so many animals. At 77, I've been a vegan for the (more...)

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