I was jogging at about 7 this evening, and i saw that i was coming up on a couple (a relatively elderly man and woman) walking their dogs. They were traveling in the same general direction as me, but the woman was facing me and saw me coming. I generally assume that, in such cases, people will get a tighter grip on the leash if they think there’s any chance that their dog might get aggressive.
Even so, i also know that it’s best not to come too close to a strange dog, especially if there’s a chance that you might startle it, so i veered off the sidewalk and onto the grass verge, away from the two people and two dogs. I went pretty much as far as i could, but a tree prevented me from going further, and going outside the tree would have put me on the road and in traffic. I thought i had plenty of room.
The dog that the guy was holding lunged toward me and snapped. The dogs were large terriers of some sort (looked like Airedales, but i’m not an expert), tall enough to reach about to my thigh. Which, coincidentally, is exactly where he sank his teeth in.
Actually, as it turned out, i was almost quick enough to get out of his way. Instead of getting both upper and lower jaws clamped around my thigh and lower buttock, i twisted enough that the dog didn’t get a full bite. Judging by the wound, one of his large top teeth penetrated the skin and raked a fairly short but deep groove. It looked pretty mangled at the time, and started bleeding quite a bit.
I yelled at the couple to keep control of their fucking dogs, and went into a short, adrenaline-fueled rant about irresponsible asshole dog owners. The woman told me i should not run up behind dogs. I told her that she had seen me coming, and that they should have taken control of the leashes, and also that i had done my best, within the space constraints of the sidewalk and the tree and the road, to avoid the dogs. And besides, when you have your dogs out in public, it’s your fucking responsibility to make sure they’re under control at all times.
I’m not reticent about profanity at the best of times, and my speech was liberally laden with expletives—something i felt was rather justified under the circumstances. But she also told me that i shouldn’t swear. I asked if she was fucking kidding. Then she said, “You’ll probably have a decent bruise.” I repeated my previous inquiry: “Are you fucking kidding me? Did you miss the gash and the blood and mangled flesh i just showed you?”
The husband was extremely apologetic, and they asked me to walk back to their house (around the corner) so they could help. I wasn’t in the mood for any help from them, and i knew i’d have to go to the hospital for tetanus and antibiotics anyway, so i took their name and address and left. I went to a bar around the corner and used the phone to call my wife, who came and picked me up.
We went home, where i had a quick shower (i was sweating and stinky from running), took a couple of photos of the injury, and put some gauze on it. Then we went to the ER at the hospital around the corner from our place. Luckily, it only took about two and a half hours from walking in to walking out. When we first arrived, it was busy and i had visions of all-night waits, but most people were apparently there for relatively non-urgent stuff, so it didn’t take me too long to get seen. They cleaned it out with iodine and then put some antiseptic cream (something like neosporin) and a dressing on it, before giving me a tetanus jab, a prescription for antibiotics, and a half-dozen Tylenol 3 in case of pain.
I was glad i got the name and address of the dog’s owner, because animal control has to go and check that the dog’s shots are up to date. The couple seemed pretty well-heeled, and live in an expensive neighborhood, so i’m guessing they do all the required stuff for their pets. If not, there’s a slight possibility that i would need a series of rabies shots, which would reeeeeeaaaaally suck.
The guy at the scene offered to take care of any medical expenses. My insurance will cover most of it, but i’m going to send him a bill for my ER deductible.
Now my leg throbs (but the pain actually isn’t bad), and has really bruised up nicely. I’ll probably be crossing the street a little more frequently in order to avoid dogs for a while now.
For those not grossed out by such things, here are a couple of photos of the wound, taken before we went to the hospital. (possibly NSFW; shows my upper thigh/lower buttock area, and some blood and stuff):