Encountering Cujo at Mile 6

It’s been a day.

Actually, it’s been a couple of weeks since my last post and I’ve traveled all over the country for work, banked some long days at the office, did TONS of yard work, spent time with my daughter, Ellie, spent time with my mom, spent some time with my dad in the hospital (he’s much better now!) and was only getting in teeny itty bitty runs, 2-3 miles, every now and then. Hardly post-worthy.

Today, I have something to write about.

To start, I set off for an 8 mile loop this morning, basically with a plan to just get my butt in gear since I signed up for a half-marathon in 6 weeks.

My first couple of miles were tough – and I had a chance to make a turn to shorten the route to 5 miles, but I pressed past that turn, committing to the full 8.

My route was pretty – rolling hills, lots of farmland, not too much traffic, and good weather (cloudy, 55 degrees.) And I had good tunes coming through my headphones. As I noted, I’ve had a crazy couple of weeks, sling-shotting from one thing to the next, and so I had a lot to think about on my run, and once I got warmed up, the distance felt like it would be OK.

And it would have been OK, except at mile 6, just as I was turning toward one of my favorite views of the water, I saw two older women walking three dogs – one on a leash, 2 off leash. I crossed to the other side of the road. Just as I did that, a car came around the bend, and one of the dogs – a huge, black, shepherd-mix of some kind – bolted for the car. I stopped, watching it all unfold. The car stopped within about a half-inch before hitting the dog. Then the dog saw me, and came running. RUNNING.  I was trying to think fast, “What to do when a dog is coming for you? Stand still? Eye contact? No eye contact? Yell? Shut up?” I couldn’t remember, but I stood still with my arms close to me and could see that dog wasn’t going to slow down and was definitely going to jump on me. I turned my side to the dog and felt it bite my left hip/thigh.

The dog ran off in front of another car coming from the other direction. That car stopped. And then cars were coming from both directions, piling up behind one another and the dog was jumping at the cars. One of the women was walking past me toward the dog and I yelled at her, “GET that dog !- it bit me” and I showed her my leg. She quietly said, “I’m trying…”  She was clearly overwhelmed.

The situation was OUT OF HAND. I’m surprised there were not car accidents or car-hitting-dog accidents.

I turned and continued on my way, careful not to actually run, but trying to depart expeditiously, and I heard that dog coming back toward me from behind. I turned around and the dog was coming full speed. This time, I spread my legs, pointed at it and yelled, “NO. NO. NO!” in my deepest voice. It stopped 6 inches in front me, turned, and ran back to the cars. I got the HELL OUT of there.

Let me just say, the fight-or-flight response was fully engaged. I had just fought the dog and was fully committed to flight – I ran home. A full two miles more, as fast as I could.

I called the police. They said the animal control person would call me Monday morning. I said, “It is completely out of control! Dog jumped on cars, dog bit me and broke my skin!” Police recommended I go to emergency room and to expect a call on Monday morning from animal control officer. UN-believable.

Here is evidence of the bite:

071 073

Naturally, it’s a Saturday, so the ER is pretty full with very serious Saturday variety injuries. I’m at the bottom of the triage.  When the doctor gets to me, she asked if I called the police, I said yes, but they would look for the dog on Monday. She said, “Hmmm… let me see if I can urge them to look faster.”  One hour later, “I see what you mean.  If you want to try to find the dog, you have 72 hrs to get proof it’s up to date on its vaccines. Otherwise, it’s the rabies series of shots.

Let’s see. Here are the options:

Option A: Get the shots immediately.

Option B: Leave the ER, where I’ve already been waiting for 4 hours, to go find a dog that could be anywhere in southern Maine that the police are not looking for, and if I can’t find it, come back to the ER to start all over again.

I tried to pitch Option C:  assume the dog is up to date, wash my bite wound really thoroughly, and just get on with my life?

Negative. Not allowed. Not an option. Option C does not exist in this situation. (Note – if you ever tell a health professional that you have been bitten by an animal and you can’t produce proof of rabies vaccination for said animal, and the bite broke your skin, just plan on the rabies antidote series.)

So, the doctor and I  agreed on very slim chances that I’d find the dog, and another hour later, out came the shots.

If you ever need a series of rabies shots, I gently recommend that you take a friend with you, because it was FIVE shots to get started, majorly long needles, delivering an awful, burning antidote and vaccine medicine, and the shots go in all over, including right into your muscles. Seriously, after the 3 shots around the wound, and the shot in my arm, two nurses stood, one on each side of me, each with a very long needle, counted to three, and then simultaneously jammed those needles into thigh muscles on each leg.  It’s just not nice. Plus, it’s the gift that keeps giving, because I have to go back for three more booster shots in the next 2 weeks.

Let’s recap – bad first 3 miles, good miles 4,5,6. DOG BITE. Bad miles 7,8 and bad, bad trip to ER.

On the upside, my friend, Janet, arrived in her truck after my ER adventure so that I could go buy a grill, which I have wanted to do since last summer.

I grilled my entire dinner, including my vegetables tonight, and THAT was a good part of my day!



PS – major shout out to my friend and colleague, Kat Stegeman, who, at the last minute, dashed over to the College to cover an afternoon presentation that I was scheduled to do, but couldn’t get to, thanks to the epic line at the ER and my fun shot series. Kat – you’re the BEST. Thank you!

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