A 12-year-old boy from Young is undergoing a series of life-saving shots following his encounter with a rabid fox Monday evening south of Young.
The boy, Andrew Brewer, suffered minor punctures to his leg, along with a slight laceration. Aside from feeling a little embarrassed about the attack, the curious teen has learned a valuable lesson, said his mother, Janet.
"The bottom line is that he realizes he was responsible," she said. "He shouldn't have been approaching a wild animal."
Brewer was returning from a field trip in Globe in a truck driven by Tom Osborn, Mrs. Brewer said.
On Highway 288 near Reynolds Creek, Osborn spotted a small gray fox crossing the road. He stopped to look at the fox, and without warning, Andy and Osborn's son, Alex, jumped out of the truck and ran around to the driver's side for closer inspection.
"They said the fox was walking away from the truck, but when it saw the boys, started after them," Mrs. Brewer said. "Alex was able to jump into the driver's door of the truck, but there wasn't room for Andy."
The young boy started around the back side of the pickup, but before he could reach the passenger door, the fox ran under the truck and clamped down on his leg.
"The fox was chewing on his leg," Mrs. Brewer said. "Andy said at first he tried to shake it off, even hitting it against the truck, but it wouldn't let go. Finally, he had to step on it with his other foot."
Once free, Brewer said the crazed critter then went for the truck's mud-flap. The teen jumped back into the truck, and when Osborn took off, he rolled over the fox with his back tire.
"Luckily, Perry Sanders was following behind in his pickup, and stopped to get the fox," she said.
Rabies Control Officer Ty Goodman said the fox's head was transported Tuesday morning to the state laboratory in Phoenix for testing. By Tuesday afternoon, officers received word that the animal was rabid.
Andrew Brewer is now undergoing a series of rabies shots.
"He got his first shot immediately, Tuesday afternoon in Globe," Goodman said, "and will be able to continue the series of shots in Young."
Goodman said those shots aren't nearly as painful as they used to be. Instead of having shots administered through the stomach, the patient merely has to roll up his sleeve for the injection.
"He's doing just fine now," Mrs. Brewer said Thursday.
Goodman said it was a valuable lesson for Brewer and his friends.
"Rabid animals don't foam at the mouth the way people believe they do," he said. "A rabid animal will just act funny, will have really red eyes, maybe puss around the eyeballs. And, they'll act a little wobbly, a little off-balanced.
"Children and adults alike need to remember: Never approach a wild animal. And, call animal control if you suspect an animal may be rabid."