The meerkat free zone at the rehab centre was breached again over the weekend, with the arrival of Archie, a 15 month old neutered male with a pin in his pelvis after it was fractured. And it has rapidly become a war zone. Archie's history - rightly or wrongly - is that of a very spoiled house pet. Slept in the house, never left alone etc. Very sociable, well behaved....until a few days ago. That's when he bit someone who (apparently) he had always disliked. Just a scratch, but it broke the skin. Bitten dude raises all hell, owner eventually decides that he had better hand Archie over to us before the idiot bitee (??) kills Archie. So he is brought to the rehab centre, along with his vaccination papers for rabies - although he has been an urban house pet, and has never come into contact with any possible carrier. Idiot rushes straight to hospital in absolute hysteria, and insists on having all the rabies treatment possible post-exposure. Owner offers to pay for all this (refused), owner offers to release idiot from remainder of lease (idiot rents accommodation from owner on owners property (refused). Idiot insists that meerkat is rabid and must be euthanased. Much back and forward debate. Until 16h30 this afternoon when we are advised that the State Vet has been called in by idiot, and that we are to isolate and secure said meerkat until the State Vet can collect him. Vets hands are tied, rehab centres hands are tied. We all know that this animal is in no possible way rabid. Unfortunately, the only way to prove this is either a post-mortem brain study, or 6 months isolation. Which is worse than a death sentence for Archie. All the knowledge in the country can do nothing faced with a hysterical whining fool.
If you ever hear of a JHB-based pianist named Thomas, ask if he was the ignorant asshole who condemned a small animal to death because of his stupidity. And then...from me, please spit in his face.
P.S. Tell him, BTW that I'm not rabid either, although I have been bitten 4 times by non-rabid meerkats, and fully expect to be bitten again in future. Meerkats bite. No, it's not pleasant, but most predators do, sooner or later.
The rest of the animals are all OK, except for me - the miserable one. I tried really hard at the centre today to be sociable and friendly to all the new volunteers, but it was a battle. I need to find something that works. Anything. Just can't keep on like this - miserable, exhausted, apathetic, futureless....