Friday, I ran my regular route, which is a big 1/2 hour rectangle in my neighborhood. In the beginning, I was carrying small stones for protection against stray dogs. In my old neighborhood, loose mean dogs were a standing problem. So far, I hadn’t run into any dogs and I figured I had left them behind with my old house on a dirt road (something about living on a dirt road makes people think that regular rules don’t apply.) This is depite the fact that two boys on my new street had warned me about a black dog who would chase me all the way home (but not bite).
So, I am practically home, when a black dog comes lunging out from my neighbor’s house. Oh brother, I thought, now the damn thing is going to follow me home. I turned back around and just kept running, when I felt the warm wet surprise of its jaws around my upper left calf. Before I could even think, The damn dog just bit me! it had already sprinted back to its yard, and I was left staring at little spots of blood rising up in two or three puncture wounds and a trembly feeling in my stomach.
I couldn’t believe it. I just couldn’t believe it.
I limped home and started in on a minor panic. I mean, what exactly is the protocol for a dog bite? First, I called Animal Control. Once it was established that the dog had punctured my skin, the animal control guy was called to quarantine the dog, to make sure it had no symptoms of rabies. Then, I called Avalon Urgent Care and my dad for advice. In sum, you need a tetanus shot if you haven’t had one in ten years. I couldn’t find any evidence of a tetanus shot (in my files or recollection) so after disinfecting the wound, I gathered up my courage and went in to get the shot. The shot was nothing; but, turns out that it hurts like bad punch to the upper arm for the next three days. I guess it is like a localized tetanus infection – but it makes me shudder to think of what lockjaw might really be like. Is the jaw locked because it just hurts too much to move anything?? I could barely raise my left arm all weekend.
The bite is better – was never that serious. Looks pretty ugly though; purple and bruised.
Under “quarantine” means the dog is tied up at the owner’s house for the next ten days. The “owner” says the dog is not hers, even though she has been feeding it for the last two months and just sold the last of its puppies. She also told, Jim Krause, the animal control guy, that I can take her to court if I want her to pay for the doctor’s visit and tetanus shot. Luckily, the county defines ownership by five or more days of feeding an animal, so she’s responsible whether she likes it or not.
Very shady neighbor. She says she is going to be moving, because her husband just left her and she can’t make house payments. And she doesn’t want me coming over because of her delicate (pregnant) condition. Apparantly this will be her fifth or sixth child. All this was relayed to me by the friendly animal control guy. Also, he informed me that this family has a long history with animal control.
I considered writing a letter to all the people on my block about the situation – but I was going to be gone this whole week; I’ll have to see if I feel mad enough to bother when I get back. I still feel mad about it. What if had been my kid?!