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Down the Road

The rabid fox
By Milt Gross
Nov 8, 2015 - 12:18:42 AM

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I've had many outdoor adventures in Maine, and some before moving to Maine.

This one is a Pennsylvania tale, which I haven't told because I concentrate on tales that happen in Maine.

But this tale may be the most exciting event of my life, all 29.5 years and holding, so I thought I should share it.

But it happened in Pennsylvania, where I grew up.

I've seen lots of foxes in Maine, but this one in Pennsylvania almost got me. Actually, he did get me, but his bite didn't break any skin. So instead of doctor visits, I've lived fairly happily ever after to tell the tale.

Which occurred in a woods near my parents' home in Paoli, PA. Paoli is on the south side of a three-mile-wide valley that leads to Valley Forge State Park. Near our house was about a half-mile or wider stretch of woods, where, as a woodsy type kid, I used to walk several times a week.

So, while in the seventh grade, I took our Shepard-Collie (not sure what kind of shepherd; he looked like a collie) for a walk through that woods one afternoon. I had him on a leash, which may have saved Shep's life. It sure made mine fast for a few seconds.

As we walked through a fairly heavy section of woods, I saw something run rapidly toward me from a section of bushes. I thought it was a wildcat and prepared, as well as one can on a few-seconds notice, for it to climb my leg. But with its mouth, it grabbed my jeans, and spun me around.

It was then I realized it was a fox, probably rabid. I spun from its force and began kicking at it. Shep raced around me as I spun, trying unsuccessfully to grab the fox. In a few seconds, which to my mind were at least several months, it let go and raced off through the woods.

I discovered it had bitten my jeans but not my leg. I tried to relax and headed on home to brag a bit.

But the foxy tale continued. Farther down the valley, it did bite another seventh grader, a friend of mine whose life's plans were to be a game warden. That boy had to suffer those rabies shots they gave after one was bitten by a rabid animal. A farmer shot the fox, and it was found to be rabid.

The next day in school during phys ed class, where I stood wearing my little white shorts and not really taking part in the softball game, other seventh graders approached me to see if I was rabid.

I didn't think fast enough, so showed them my unbitten ankle while they waited for me to start foaming at the mouth.

Had I been a bit quicker in the seventh-grade mental department, I would have started slobbering and rushed at one of those kids also dressed in little white gym shorts.

Of course, I don't know what would have happened had I done that play acting. I might have been shot as a rabid seventh grader.

Or I might not.

I'll never know.

I hope I am never bitten by a rabid animal, so I can find out what would happen next.

Whatever would have happened didn't.

I don't think I slobber at the mouth nowadays.

Except when its getting close to supper time.

Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at

Milton M. Gross Copyright 2015

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