The Perception of Pain

I am 45 years old and just today I realized that I have truly never experienced pain. Yeah, sure, I’ve had surgery where I hit the button on my morphine pump under my doctor’s watchful eye, or taken Vicodin or Percocet post-surgically – again under my doctor’s watchful eye – but I have truly never expeienced pain.

The call came at about 3:00 pm today – one of our area police departments advising that a coyote had something metal stuck around its head. I agreed to come out and sedate the animal. Preparing for something relatively benign I arrived with sedatives, antibiotics, wound cleansers, tin snips and wire cutters. I sedated the coyote and quickly realized that her head was grotesquely caught in a trap. Not being familiar with the operation of this type of trap and not wanting to injure her further, I put the sleepy coyote in my car and drove back to Barrington while I called Garon Fyffe at ABC Humane Wildlife, a licensed trapping service, for advice.

Garon told me that it sounded like a (double-spring) conibear trap (sometimes known as a killer trap) and told me how to release its death-like grip. I arrived at Barrington and proceeded with Garon’s instructions. I tried with all my might and couldn’t budge the trap. Desperate, I called Garon again. He offered to meet me.

We assembled in a Walgreens parking lot. I arrived shortly after Garon and two more of Garon’s recruits arrived a couple of minutes after me. We placed the coyote under a parking lot light. She was shielded with blankets from the 23 degree night air. Curious on-lookers stared but I advised them that they best not look unless they like the macabre.

It took three men almost fifteen minutes to remove the trap – including one big strong guy named Vito. They strained over and over to release the thick metal bars from around her head and muzzle. They were able to secure the bottom spring, but couldn’t get the top spring. Over and over even Vito lacked the hand strength to release the mechanism. Finally, Vito got just enough so that Al could latch the safety. They slid the trap from her head.

I placed the coyote back into my car so that I could head, once again, to Barrington. Before leaving Walgreens, I reversed the sedative and drove off.

Back at Barrington, I administered all necessary meds. She’s clearly been through more than enough. Let’s hope that she makes it through the night. No person or animal should have to endure such pain.

My sincere thanks to Garon, Vito and Al. I couldn’t have done it without you.

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