Two local paramedics recently managed to help a furry, black-and-white patient that could've raised a stink.
Katelyn Knaap and Mary Schermel, who both live in Barrie, are primary-care paramedics with the Simcoe County Paramedic Service.
They were driving back from a call at about 3:30 a.m. this past week on County Road 10, west of Highway 400 in Innisfil, at the end of their shift when Schermel noticed a small animal struggling on the side of the road.
“It looked like an injured animal, but we just kept driving. I kept thinking about it. I’m a huge sucker for animals,” Schermel said with a laugh. “I asked if we could go back.”
Schermel was driving, with Knaap in the passenger seat.
When they pulled up, Schermel said the small skunk was wandering in the middle of the road with a plastic Tim Hortons cup stuck on its head.
“(The cup) was filled with stuff, too, so it couldn’t see,” Schermel told BarrieToday. “I was worried about getting sprayed, but also it was almost the end of shift.”
Both Schermel and Knaap put on full personal protective equipment in the event the skunk got scared and decided to use its natural defences.
Knaap stepped up to remove the cup, while Schermel decided to record.
“It’s kind of silly, actually. Whenever we go to a call, somebody is the driver and somebody is the passenger. I was the passenger, so when we pulled over it was kind of a natural reaction that it was my turn,” Knaap said with a laugh.
“I was thinking, ‘Oh my God, I really hope this works,'” she added.
After a couple of tries, the skunk came loose and scurried off into the bush.
“No spray, so it was our lucky day,” said Schermel.
Knaap said that, unfortunately, paramedics find animals caught in litter on the side of the road more often than people might think, with at least three or four other occurrences she can remember within the past year alone.
“The littering is sort of everywhere... and there are so many critters running around in the farm fields,” said Schermel. “Hopefully we can get the message out to not litter, and take a second to stop and help a little animal out.”