Dealing with the worst running injury, a dog bite

Friday, December 31st, New Year’s Eve Day 2010, started like any other typical vacation day.  I slept in a bit and then got up to get my day started.  The weather was warm but really breezy and I debated with myself for a while whether I was going to go for a run or not.  I finally decided that I didn’t want to let this slide, I wanted a final run for 2010.

I headed out with the notion that I would play things by ear and see how I felt and let that determine how much mileage I would put in.  I originally thought it would be a short run, 3.5-4miles but then I realized I wanted to finish the year strong and pushed on through to get in 6 miles.

As I was on the last section of my run, in a neighborhood across the street from mine, I heard shouting.  Like serious shouting.  To be honest I didn’t pay much attention to it because I couldn’t understand what the person was shouting.  I could only make out sounds and not actual words.

Then it got a little more intense and I thought, “Holy crap it’s like 9:30 in the morning when most people are on vacation and still asleep.  Cut it out!”

It was at this point I heard a different sound.  It wasn’t shouting but jingling.  I looked over my shoulder and quickly realized that I was not in a very good situation at all.

Out of nowhere, two dogs had me in their sights and were barreling down on me quickly.  I could tell by their body language that this was not going to be a good encounter and that I was not viewed as a friend but as an intruder.

I stopped running, put my hands up in the air surrender style, and started walking as slowly as I possibly could.  I was on the street and had a car to my left.  The dogs sort of had me cornered.  One on my right back and the other one on the left in the back.

Being next to the car kept that side safe and kept the dogs from being able to completely surround me.

I kept my arms up, my head down, and just tried to walk slowly out of the situation.  It occurred to me that whoever I heard yelling earlier was probably yelling for the dogs and I was hoping they would come up on the scene quickly.

They did not.

One of the dogs jumped up and bit me on the back of my right thigh and then the dogs ran away back from where they came.  I took this as my chance to escape and get out of there right quick.  I ran home.

Aside from, “This is your chance, get out of here!”  My first reaction was, “Seriously? Did this dog just bite me? I can’t flipping believe I just got bit by a dog!”

Oh the things we say to ourselves in times of stress.

As soon as I got home I checked the bite.  It was mostly swollen and bruised with a very slight puncture mark.  I’m grateful that it wasn’t anything more serious.  The fact that someone was yelling for the dogs kept them from being entirely focused on me.  With two out of control aggressive dogs, things could have turned extremely ugly very quickly.

I looked up information about dog bites online and then I called a friend who works in the medical field, (Thanks Dan!) to ask what is probably a really dumb question but one that I could not find the answer to.

Could I shower first before going to Urgent Care?

The answer was yes! And that it was best to clean the wound first.

I showered and got dressed to head to Urgent Care since my doctor’s office was closed.  I didn’t have an open gaping or bleeding wound so I didn’t think a trip to the ER was necessary.

I waited to be seen by a doctor who barely even looked at my wound.  She didn’t bother to clean it or bandage it for me either, instead informing me to do that once I got home.  I was given a tetanus shot and two prescriptions, one for antibiotics and one for a topical ointment.

I had to fill out an animal bite report and the doctor basically told me that unless I find out who the owners were, then I most likely will get sick and die.

Not that bluntly, mind you, but that’s basically what she was getting at.  As if I didn’t feel bad enough.

As I was leaving Urgent Care she said, “I hope you feel better!” Um, me too?  Doctors really should take a course in bedside manner.

We left and got my prescriptions filled and headed back towards home.  Scott said we were going to drive around where the incident happened to see if we could find the owners.  I was doubtful this was going to work but agreed it needed to be done.

We drove up and down the street and I got out to chat with a neighbor who lived on that street.  She had no information but was very nice.  Then farther down the street I chatted with a couple and the wife told me that she’s seen the dogs before and showed me about where they were located.  She didn’t know exactly which house but knew the area of where they lived.  We headed down there and I talked with another neighbor who told me who the owners were and also said that she has had some run-ins with the dogs before as well.  She confirmed that they were mean and have actually come after her and her son before.  As I was talking with her one of the owners pulled up in his truck.  She pointed him out and down the street I went to get his information.

He told me the dogs belonged to the woman he lived with and went inside to get her.  She came out and I told her what happened.  She confirmed that the dogs got out that morning and was very apologetic.  She gave me her name and their vet information willingly.

I called my friend back after that to give him an update of the situation and then Scott said he was taking me out to breakfast.  Keep in mind that this happened at 9:30ish am and I was just now eating something at 1:30pm.


After we ate, we ran to the vet’s to double check that I was given the right information and that the animals were up to date on their rabies.  They were.  Then it was off to the police department to make an official report.

By the time I got home, I was exhausted and wanted nothing more than my couch.  This wasn’t how I planned on spending the last day of 2010.

That night I went to bed and proceeded to sleep for about 12 hours.  Adrenaline, fear, and stress, the trifecta of energy zappers.

The bite is located on the upper portion of the back of my right thigh.  More of a pulling of the skin and bruising.  I’m thankful there is no open wound and stitches were not necessary.

2010 was a really great year and I have a lot to be thankful for.  However, I’m the most thankful for the fact that I:

1. Escaped this encounter.

2. Did so with minimal damage.

Given the situation that there were two dogs, both highly agitated and aggressive, I could be telling a different story right now.

A dog bite is one running injury that I never thought I would have to deal with.

More to come on how to recognize when a dog isn’t friendly and how to handle that situation.

20 thoughts on “Dealing with the worst running injury, a dog bite

  1. Renee says:

    I feel your pain. As someone who takes her 3 dogs on walks I have had a few encounters myself. No matter how many times we email our neighbors, write articles on it in our newsletter, and facebook post (yes, I’m the admin for my neighborhood’s facebook page) that loose dogs are dangerous, it seems that everyone believes their dogs could not be aggressive and dangerous. The hounds and I have been attacked many times. It is in a dog’s nature to protect its territory. No size of dog or breed is an exception.
    You were lucky to get away with a minor injury. Try holding back 3 medium-sized strong dogs while an aggressive dog is heading your way. Then holding them back while kicking the attacking dog in the head. Being in the middle of a dog fight is not good.
    Hope the police contact the dog owner and I hope that person will pay the medical bills.
    Best wishes to you for good and safe future runs.

    • Whitney, I did find and speak with the owners. :)
      Heather M., not in so many words but she basically said that I need to find the owners of the dogs or it doesn’t look good for me.
      Persephone, I’m not sure exactly but was told by friends that it should be on record somewhere. I asked the officer taking my statement what happens next but he wasn’t really forthcoming with information.
      Heidi, yup, basically the doctor just wanted me dealt with and out of there. When I asked what my course of action would be if I couldn’t find the owners the answer was, “I don’t know.” Um, kay thanks!

  2. Wow, wow, wow. I’m SO glad you are OK, Andrea. Thank goodness the dogs were distracted so you could get out of the situation.
    And aren’t the drs at the Urgent Care the WORST? I have no idea how they even get licensed (had to deal with this 2 wks ago with Colin)! Glad you had a friend you could call about it.
    Happy New Year, girl – it can only get better from here, right? :)

  3. Holy crap! I’m so glad that it wasn’t worse than it was, but still…so scary! And I thought creepy people were bad enough when I’m out by myself.

    Hooray for urgent care. I mean, they’re prolly not thrilled to be working there, but STILL! What a crappy doctor.

  4. Heather says:

    I’m glad you are ok!

    But um the doctor told you that if you didn’t find the owners you would get sick and die? What?

  5. Dude. Seriously! Doctors really should take a course in bedside manner. What’s up with that? I’m so sorry you had to go through this but glad you are okay. My mom was bit by a dog while out walking one day and it was an experience. She had to get a rabies shot. I’ve been sort of freaked out by dogs ever since.

    I’d love to read how to handle that sort of situation as I normally run in residential areas or parks.

  6. Wow! I’ve been waiting to hear this whole story. I’m really glad the bite wasn’t worse and you were able to determine the dogs were rabies free.

    I have been bit by a dog when walking in a neighborhood and chased on my bike several times. In all cases the dogs are doing what they believe is correct – securing their property/protecting their owners – but still should not be aggressive. In the case of cycling I always carry an extra water bottle with the intention of using it as a projectile should I need to.

    Thanks for writing future articles about dealing with dog threats and bites. I know, as a dog lover, you’ll present the topic well.

  7. Heidi says:

    I’m so sorry this happened to you. What a thing to deal with. And that doctor! I have a feeling I know which Urgent Care you went to… Some Urgent Care dr only want to throw drugs at you and get you out.

    I’m glad that your injury is minor and you’re feeling better.

  8. OMG Andrea – that story is absolutely insane! I’m so glad that you are okay (and one tough chick – I don’t know how I would have held up!) Miss you!

  9. Glad you are okay. Sorry you had to deal with that. I make sure Anna never bothers anyone (even a friendly sniff) when they are running in the neighborhood.

    You reacted so well and I think posting tips on that is a great idea.

    Got the bad stuff out of the way now on to a great 2011!!

  10. So glad you are okay. After Dan got bit he started searching out tips and stories about runner dog bites online. If you haven’t done that yet, don’t! Some of the stories are horrifying, and most from dogs of owners who yell – he won’t bite. Cheers to safe and healthy running in 2011!

  11. What a day! I am happy the bite was not worse and you were able to find the owner and they cooperated. There is a dog in our neighborhood that jumps up on people and he bit a hole through Steven’s pants last year!

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