Tuesday, September 3, 2013

One Story-Two Perspectives

A few days ago, we were the victims of a bat invasion. After returning home from an eventful day out, I was annoyed to find that once let out of her cage, my dog was obsessed with sniffing around the back and side of the toilet bowl. Unfortunately, this was not new behavior as she seemed highly critical of my new bathroom decorations and never missed an opportunity show her disdain for my artistic vision. Whining and pawing viciously at the floor instead of high on the walls where decorative seashells dangled from nets struck me as curious, and so I got closer to investigate. Down under the toilet bowl was a dark, baseball-sized lump that I mistook at first for carelessly tossed underwear.

Something about the form and my dog's bizarre reaction caused the hair on the back of my neck to  rise, so I hauled her from the room and asked my husband to take a look. He revealed to my horror that the lump was in fact a bat. Nightmare visions of Cujo, Old Yeller, and Tom Robinson from To Kill a Mockingbird all screamed in my head one single, terrifying word: rabies. Heart drumming, I grabbed my dog and checked her ruthlessly for bites, but miraculously she was clean.

After getting online to help plan the best strategy to attack the beast, I garbed myself in protective gear, including long pants and shirt and think leather gloves; it seemed a fragile, pathetic defense--internet-gleaned knowledge and work gloves against every pet owner's nightmare. It attacked the broom with darting head thrusts and a harsh screech but refused to budge. The second option involved wrapping it with a T-shirt so that it couldn't get airborne, an up-close and personal approach that made me shudder. The agony of needles penetrating my stomach forced me to take several deep breaths before casting my fate to the wind. I managed to capture the vicious predator and transport it outside safely without casualties. But the damage was done. I can no longer enter the bathroom without breathing deeply and mentally preparing myself for another bat attack.

Same Story, Different Perspective

I successfully rescued a lost bat last night. The poor thing somehow managed to fly into the house, probably happily chasing bugs. Unable to get back out, the terrified animal huddled in a safe, dark place, possibly chirping helplessly for his mother. Tucked in beneath the toilet bowl--as close to a cave as he could find--he couldn't be seen, but he also had no hope of ever getting out.

Then, noises and lights exploded in the room and he cowered deeper, trying desperately to stay quiet and hidden. But a large beast came sniffing and despite his best efforts, his safe haven was uncovered. The beast was dragged away, still making a racket that vibrated the walls of his cave. What to do? In the resounding quiet, he stretched a tentative wing out. He couldn't take off from the ground; it was impossible. He couldn't climb the slippery cave walls to get height. He was desperately alone with no avenue for escape. His situation was grim indeed. Then, grimmer still as a giant limb full of tight, thin, bristly leaves cam swatting at him, trying to force him from safety into the cruel harsh lights. He tucked his wing to his body and held his position.

The broom wasn't working, I thought. The poor little bat was so scared that he clung desperately to the ground. He started chirping pathetically, begging for help, for mercy, for his nightmare to be over. I was afraid I would hurt him if I kept at it. The other option was riskier than maneuvering him into a container. If I wrapped him up when his wings were out, I might hurt him irreparably, but what other option did I have. I found an old T-shirt and pushing aside my own irrational fears, I made what I hoped were soothing noises as I got closer. His tortured peeping grew louder that closer I got. I tossed the T-shirt over him and was relieved to see that his wings remained folded tight.

Alright. Deep breath. You won't hurt him; he won't hurt you. You're going to get the little guy home. I stepped up and used my leather-gloved hands to gently scoop up the helpless bat. He barely protested with more than a peep, resigned to his fate. I took him outside and set him--T-shirt and all--next to a big tree. I unwrapped the shirt so that he could get out. Emboldened by the fresh air, he staggered awkwardly, grasping for the promise of freedom. He caught the tree bark and climbed, his leathery wings splayed across the tree like a thank you as his tiny feet climbed for home. Rescue mission a success, I smiled that I could play such an invaluable role.

Life hack: Only YOU can choose your perspective.

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