FRANKLINVILLE, N.C. - Changing the garbage bag. It's something Howard Callicut had done dozens of times before.
"I only thought I was going to be outside a few minutes."
But Monday, something red and bushy came out of the blue.
"I thought it was one of my brother's dogs," Callicutt explains. "He's got some small dogs."
Instead of a playful pup, he got a ferocious fox.
"It was snarling and growling the whole time, had the white stuff running out of the corner of his mouth."
Callicutt says the fox kept biting and biting, but he fought back. He was finally able to push the fox into a shed and slammed the door.
A neighbor heard him calling for help and got Animal Control on the phone.
"If I hadn't gotten it in that building locked up I don't know what I'd do," Callicutt says. "I reckon he'd just bit me all over. I already wound up with enough."
The Randolph County Health Department confirms the fox was rabid. It marks the eighth case of rabies this year in the county.
The whole ordeal left Callicutt rattled. He's a lung cancer patient and just had shoulder surgery. It took everything he had to fight the fox off.
But despite the bumps and bruises, Callicutt is counting his blessings.
"If it had been Mama, he would have killed Mama."
Callicutt's 101-year-old mother lives with him. He's grateful the fox didn't get to her first.
"I don't know what I'd done if something happened to her."
Because Callicutt was bitten by a rabid animal, he's undergoing shots to ensure he doesn't contract rabies. He's expected to fully recover from the attack. But from now on, he plans to keep his pistol on him when he goes to change the garbage bag.
"I tell people to be more careful."