When the dog bites, and you can’t find the dog, it’s apparently a big deal.
Earlier in the month I was merrily running along and I passed one of the many people walking a dog along the Bronx River Reservation pathway. Unfortunately for me, the dog — a large German shepherd — went nuts as I passed and bit me in several places on my forearm and wrist.
Needless to say, it was an alarming experience, one which rattled me. After a free and frank exchange with the owner, who expressed about as much concern as I would expect from a telephone pole, I ran on. As I ran, I thought, hmm, this is bad. I’ve just been bitten by a dog. Will that dog bite other people? Has it already? Has the dog had shots?
By the time I’d run through all this in my mind, the owner and dog were long gone.
So. If this happens to you: Get contact info from the owner because if you don’t, you may be in for a world of hassle. Like me!
First, report the bite to the police. Although it’s not highest on their list of priorities, dogs that bite people are of interest to them. Also, assuming it’s not bad enough to have gone to the emergency room already, go to your doctor, who will probably give you a prescription for an industrial strength antibiotic (such as Augmentin) as well as make sure you’re up to date on your tetanus booster. And who, if he or she practices in Westchester, will be required to inform the health dept. That’s where the fun really begins.
Yesterday was the first of a series of rabies prophylaxis shots. The dark ages of giant needles getting shoved into your abdomen are long gone, but it’s still not pleasant. I needed to go to the health department (with a cooler, no less) to pick up my own vaccine. Then I had to truck it over (quickly!) to my doctor, so I could get six shots yesterday. I have four more shot sessions in the coming weeks. Then I’m free to frolic with rabid animals with aplomb.
So far, I’ve had no side effects to speak of (save for soreness around the shot locations, and a weird ache behind my eyes, like I’m getting a cold). Oh, and a palpable sense of annoyance and resentment that won’t go away. Is that a side effect?
M’kay. So. If you’re running along the pathway and you meet up with an irresponsible dog owner and a large German shepherd named Virginia, steer clear. And let me know. Because if Virginia the dog is still lunging at people, it means she isn’t rabid (just garden-variety vicious) and I can stop going in for these damned shots.