About a month ago I was casually walking down a road in a city rather new to me and a dog with an unusually low stature bit me like it was routine. It dashed from my front from behind a crooked Y-shaped tree growing out of a pavement dislocating a few paver blocks like it didn’t matter, bit my left foot just above the ankle with a jaw as wide as I like to believe it had never opened before, and scrammed inside what looked like a gated villa. It all happened in less than five seconds so my memory of it is a bit hazy. I’m writing about it today to refresh the episode as I successfully completed my five-dose post-exposure prophylaxis anti-rabies course.
When I narrated it to my dear ones back home, most of them were not blaming the dog. You must have provoked it. Did you try to run? You walk so fast, you must have stepped on its tail. Came the allegations, and instead of seeing myself turn into a humanoid dog, I started suspecting them to be the dog’s dear ones ready to accuse me of blunting its fangs as a result.
To be honest, I’m still not sure what made it bite me. Though, my best guess is this: the dog – which I believe to be a domesticated one as I faintly remember a collar around its neck – was fooling around on the street with other animals. One thing may have led to another and the mongrel may have got scared. With this newfound fear, it must have tried to find its way home as soon as possible. And here comes I – the fast walker that I am – with long, slender legs wearing bluish grey pants looking tasty enough for a lick but more tempting afterwards that a full bite seems warranted. Scared already, the dog must have detected a threat in my overarching posture, so it responded in the only way possible. I would have preferred a couple woofs instead.
The speed at which it ran after biting me was higher than that with which it came at me. Perhaps the legend is true that my taste gives people energy so that they can run away from me.
I didn’t feel pain; it was more of a stinging sensation that seemed to grow as I walked towards my destination. I had read somewhere that the first thing to do after a dog bite is to get an anti-rabies shot within the next hour. I was wrong, said a doctor whom I found nearly an hour later who rubbished all I had known about treating a dog bite. (Mind you, there is no cure for rabies yet.)
He said instead I should have cleaned the bitten area with cold water, to get rid of any virus. An antiseptic liquid is recommended but the wound has to be kept open so that it can breathe. A talker, he took his time to prescribe me the anti-rabies course. I took the first shot of anti-rabies vaccine and another one for tetanus. Four more doses followed and last week I finished the course. No tablets or ointments were prescribed as neither is necessary. Mine was a non-bleeding category 2 dog bite, so it was a bit serious. Category 1 and 3 involve licks and muscle bite with bleeding respectively. Plus, the mongrel was likely vaccinated or else it would have been a tad difficult to type this out with just a pair of paws.
It was fun because when I narrated this story to the different groups in my circle, the reactions were diverse. Many laughed, some evinced concern, and others reacted like they were on the dog’s side.
Apparently, anti-rabies vaccine is effective for a year in a human adult’s body. If you’ve been reading my blog, you already know where this is going. It’s time to bite back.