Editorial: Gathering around extinct monkeys and a curious dog

Monkeys on the loose during a pandemic? It was a little too perfect, too deliciously ironic.

When news of Friday’s crash near Danville broke, it seemed like the latest in an endless series of jokes about the new and different variety of apocalypses on the horizon. The latest incarnation of murder hornets and escaped zebras and other tales of the weird.

Come on, lab monkeys break free on a cross-country trip? It was both hilarious and, yes, potentially terrifying in a kind of funeral laugh.

It was almost a disappointment when the three escaped primates were picked up without a chase that looked like footage from a new episode of the “Jumanji” film series. Yes, there were reports that a woman was sick after encountering one of the primates, but on Wednesday news came that she had been treated out of caution – not because she was sick.

But we don’t need to import monkeys for a zoological mystery. We don’t need to search for strange insects or escaped creatures. There’s more than enough to keep the imagination busy in the backyard. Especially if your garden is in Fairfield.

Christina Eyth found a quivering 37-pound mass of big eyes and mangy fur on her porch on January 17. Temperature was in the 20’s. Snow was piling up in a one day downpour.

It is now in the custody of Morgan Barron at the Wildlife Works Rehabilitation Center in Mt. Pleasant Township because no one can quite figure out what it is. Maybe a dog? Maybe a coyote? Without fur, it’s hard to say.

The important thing is that, like the monkeys, people were still not afraid to help.

Eyth and Barron, like the people who helped search for missing monkeys in Montour County, saw a need and did what was necessary to fix the problem. Just like the nurses, doctors and first responders and so many others who have done their best to fill the gaps and provide services during the pandemic.

It’s easy, in a highly controversial society often torn by culture wars and political divides, to see our landscape as this endgame story where biblical plagues seem to lurk behind every headline.

We must recognize that what makes our communities work is people coming together despite everything, even for a dog that could be a coyote shivering in the snow.


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