I’ve been running for about 20 years now and for the first time ever was bit by a dog…Now I wasn’t chased or mauled by the dog…but rather quickly and suddently bit (not a small bite). So my post is more of a “be aware” note and advice on what to do just in case you are bit as well.
The situtation/what happened: I was running last Wednesday evening with my high school team when about 10 of us decided to veer off to a quiet nature trail in east Boca we sometimes venture off on. It’s basically a one-mile paved sidewalk that goes by bushes, plants and a lake. But a nice change-up. Anyway – the ten of us (all boys, one girl and myself) were running on the sidewalk past the lake when a couple with four dogs approached. We naturally went into our single file line and ran on the right side of the path. We were in the middle of talking about whatever when as I passed the couple (fourth in line for our group), one of the dogs (Australian Shepard) jumped up out of no where and bit me. (Not sure if it was on a leash or not, but it was with the couple and three smaller dogs.)
I immediately dropped to the ground in shock and a little bit of pain and the kids circled me. The couple and dogs were right there as well and seemed shocked as well. I had the kids check out the injury unsure as to how bad it was (a scratch, or more?) and the female owner came over to see as well. We all realized that it wasn’t a scratch at that point. The woman texted me her information so I could keep in touch as I still wasn’t sure how bad it was…or what my next steps would be. I pulled up my shorts to prevent any additional chafing and the kids and I ran back to our cars at Spanish River park.
When I got back, two of the girls (Sydney and Bailey) helped clean up the injury in the bathroom with soap and water before I jumped in the car with the plan to have it checked out by a doctor. It was at this point that the pain escalated and I realized I would have to rush to an ER Clinic/MDNow.
What the doctor said: My brother and friend met me at the clinic where the doctor cleaned me up, gave me antiobiotics and pain medicine. He mentioned that while only 5% of dog bites get infected (side note: 85% of cat bites get infected), that I should still watch it and come back if the injury turns red, gets inflamed. He also made sure that I had a tetinus shot and asked that I get the Rabies records from the dog owner’s vet.
No inflammation resulted the following day but the bruising has been pretty bad. And kept getting worse the first few days. Now it has calmed down a bit. Running was impossible the two days following the incident (felt super sore) but has been okay the last couple of days. (Sorta running through the pain a tad…)
The dog owner has been very attentive and checked in on me daily. She has agreed to buy me a new pair of shorts (the ones I was wearing were ripped) and pay for my co-pay/prescription (medical bills). We are both very lucky it wasn’t worse!
Lessons Learned: While honestly there was no way for me to have prevented this incident…I have learned a few things that I’ll share here:
- Run with a phone…I didn’t have a way to get the dog owner’s contact information. Luckily she had a phone and texted me her correct information.
- Don’t just run on the opposite side of the sidewalk…potentially run off on the grass if possible. Even if the dog is on a leash with owners…even if you look strange running so far away – it’s for your safety.
- Get the other person’s contact info no matter how bad (or not bad) the bite was. I didn’t think it was that bad at first. The adrenaline was pumping apparently. Get the information just in case.
- Be kind. It stinks to be bitten by a dog…but dogs are animals. And it’s not necessarily the fault of the owner (or you obviously). So be kind with each other…and see the situtation for what it is. I was lucky to have an attentive and caring owner that teared up when she saw how I was hurt….and I’m sure she felt lucky that I was understanding and not immediately threatening, yelling, etc. So be fair and kind.
*THANKFUL: Super thankful it was me that was bit and not one of the student-athletes I was running with…
Run Eat Repeat Blog: Runner Bit by Dog
Runner’s World: Mean Dogs Bite
Great Fitness Experiment: Dog Attack!
UPDATED: So randomly, I learned that last week was National Dog Bite Prevention Week. Random! Details on the week here.