A few days ago, a lovely lady who runs and blogs, Anupriya Kapur, shared a blog post about avoiding stray dogs when you are out running. I read the post, noted the many helpful comments and tips, and stored all the advice away for future reference – hoping, of course, that I would never need to use them.
Fast forward to last night, when I set out for an evening run in my neighbourhood. The same route I take every single day.
Not even 250 metres from my house a dog, on leash, held by its teenage owner who was busy chatting on her mobile, jumped up and bit me on the hip, while the owner finished her conversation, in a flurry of “Oh God…sorry…chalo bye…talk later…sorry.”
Now, and here’s the thing…unfortunately, all the good advice people had offered about stray dogs hardly applies when the dog is on a leash, and with the owner supposedly in control. With the owner standing right there, trying to pull it off you.
Can hardly pepper spray or hit the dog, can you?
Let me tell you what I did not do. As in the things that might have provoked a dog to attack…
• I was not running – as I said, wasn’t even 250 metres from my house, so was still warm up walking.
• I was not talking on my phone, nor listening to music, nor did I touch the dog, nor did I touch the owner, nor did I make any gesture as I passed it. I was just walking. And there was ample space, so didn’t squeeze past.
• I was wearing a light T shirt. Someone commented about Anupriya’s post that dark clothes may spook dogs.
• It was still light.
So, sadly, I must conclude that the dog was just downright ill-tempered and out of control. As a dog lover (and an owner of a street dog myself) I really didn’t see an attack coming. It jumped up, sunk its teeth into me and held on for a few seconds, until the girl pulled him off – and yes, it hurt like hell.
I’ll spare you the chowkidars all watching and doing diddly squat to help.
I’ll spare you the to-ings and fro-ings with the girl, her brother, their mother – “Kya hua?” in a sceptical tone of voice until I yanked up my bloody T shirt and said “Yeh hua.”
As it was an “owner” dog and not a stray, I asked if the dog was inoculated against rabies, and they showed me its injection book, which was up to date, thank God.
Feeling slightly nauseous by this stage, I hobbled home and went to my nice local GP.
And so, folks, this is what happens if you get bitten by a dog – and I wouldn’t wish it on any of you.
I had a tetanus shot + a rabies shot.
My GP said that even though the dog seems healthy and is inoculated against rabies, had the dog been bitten by a rabid dog, then it could nevertheless be infected. So he gave me one injection and says I must do a visual check on the dog every day for a week, and if there are no changes in its appearance, then I should be OK. Otherwise, it’s the full course of rabies shots for me.
Meds for 3 days = antibiotics and painkiller.
Instructions to wash the wound thoroughly, since the skin had been broken, to wash off whatever was in its saliva and could infect me. Doc cheerfully informed me that since it was a surface wound, it would hurt even more than a deep one, because many more nerve ends are affected. Great. Just great.
This morning, I went out for my usual run, taking the same route and the wretched dog was lying inside the compound gate (where he usually is most days, lying down next to the guard) so I didn’t get a proper look at him – could just see his legs and his red harness.
What I did note this morning, however, was just how many people carry sticks on their morning walks.
But these are all for the strays, right?
Not for a dog on a leash, with the owner standing right there.
So, folks, as you did for the blog post about stray dog attacks, I would welcome advice on what to do in such circumstances, and whether you feel I handled/mishandled the situation.
I’ll spare you any more gory injury photos, but FYI here is the prescription, which you might find helpful – though, as I said earlier, I wouldn’t wish a dog bite on any of you.
But, should it happen :
a) check that the dog is vaccinated against rabies. If it’s a stray, then you know your answer straight away.
b) get your shots immediately.
Oh, and by the way, to all friends who are part of our #100days challenge…late at night, back home from the doctor’s, I ran 2km (v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y and oh-so-boringly) round and round and round and round my roof terrace, all injected up and medicated.
But I ran.