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December 25, 2001
A gift for someone not on the shopping list

By Alex Dominguez on Tuesday December 25, @10:20PM
from the yes, it really happened dept.

Deciding what to give the sly fox for Christmas was not difficult.
Deciding whether it was enough was more difficult.

Coming home from a Christmas Day walk with my father in the swampy stretch near his home that we have always called ``the sandpit, I heard a rustling in the reeds.

``Wait, I said.

``Mira, I added, pointing to a flash of fur about 10 yards off the side of the trail. ``A deer?

``No , he said. ``It looks like a fox.

I walked up closer and sure enough, it was a fox _ trapped.

``Watch out, it could have rabies.

``Dont worry, Ill throw my coat over it, I said, tossing the puffy nylon jacket over its head.

The fox scampered from underneath as I tried to see how it was trapped. Looking at each paw, I saw all four were free. Its tail had all of the fur missing from one section and it had a nasty cut next to its eyeball, but both eyes appeared normal.

The thin steel cable led from the tree to the foxs neck and I finally deduced he had stuck his head into a loop, placed by a trapper, that tightened as he tried to escape.

I threw my jacket over him again, grabbed him around the neck and squatted over his body to still him, thinking how my friends who trapped back in the '70s were paid $75 for a red fox pelt. The fox didnt make any noise.

``I dont think hes going to bite, I said.

``Give me some slack. Its stuck, we might have to cut it, my father said.

``Let me give you some more, I think itll come out, I said.

The noose came off, and as I stood up, I thought about what to do. The cut on the foxs eye was pretty bad, and he was thin. But a wild animal probably wont take help that easily, and carrying him home wrapped in a jacket would be difficult, even if he was fairly docile.

By the time I stood up, I let him go and watched as he ran six or seven feet before cutting up a trail.

``That's not right, trappers are supposed to check every day,'' my father said taking the loop from the tree.

That was the most I could have done, I hope, I thought, looking at the blood on the inside of my jacket.

Its always that way.

What should I do? Is an occasional free meal to the homeless guy enough? Will more help? Or should I try to make him help himself more?

In the season of giving, what to give is always difficult.

Posted by Alex at December 25, 2001 10:20 PM
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