You may have noticed a story that’s currently lighting up everybody’s Facebook feeds about a 21-year-old woman from Maine who recently went through a nightmare like something straight out of a horror movie. Earlier this week, Rachel Borch was out jogging on a wooded trail near her home when she suddenly came across a snarling raccoon blocking the path, bearing its teeth. Before she even had time to react, the raccoon came rushing at her, and that was just the beginning of the poor girl’s ordeal.
“I knew instantly it had to be rabid,” she later told the Bangor Daily News, and quickly ripped out her earbuds and threw her phone to the ground. Within seconds the raccoon was at her feet, lunging at her. Borch reasoned — perhaps questionably, although can any of us say what we’d do in the moment of a rabid raccoon attack — that her best option would be to use her hands to hold the animal down as a means of defending herself, however unfortunately for her it promptly bit down on her thumb and would not let go.
At that point Borch happened to notice a shallow puddle in the path that her phone had fallen into, and what happened next can only be chalked up to survival instincts and pure adrenaline.
“I didn’t think I could strangle [the raccoon] with my bare hands,” she remembers thinking, but holding it under the water might do the trick. Connecting the dots quickly, Borch, then on her knees, dragged the still biting raccoon, which was scratching frantically at her hand and arms, into the puddle.
“With my thumb in its mouth, I just pushed its head down into the muck,” Borch said. With the animal belly-up, she held its head under water. “It was still struggling and clawing at my arms. It wouldn’t let go of my thumb,” she said.
Borch said she held it there for what felt like an eternity until finally it stopped struggling and “its arms sort of of fell to the side, its chest still heaving really slowly.”
After the raccoon stopped moving, Borch pulled her thumb from its mouth and ran the three-quarters of a mile the way home, where her mother drove her to the local medical center. Her father went back to retrieve the raccoon, who packaged it up in a “Taste of the Wild dog food bag” (which seems like a strangely specific detail to this story) and took it to Maine Warden Service. It later tested positive for rabies by the Maine Center for Disease Control.
Thankfully Borch was able to receive her rabies vaccine and tetanus shots and other assorted injections in plenty of time, as rabies has a 100 percent fatality rate in humans. Her story is definitely capturing the collective imaginations of the internet though, and it’s probably only a matter of time before some movie studio greenlights a Revenant-style biopic of her traumatic ordeal.
(Via Bangor Daily News)