The Belle’s, Part III

The next day, I went to work and because it was New Year’s Eve, I had a half day. Taking the second half of the day, I went to visit a doctor to get things looked at. He was the doctor that my office used and was a really nice guy, but not too reassuring. He said the wound looked clean, but they would need to get records of the dog to make sure I did not need shots. So now the scariest concept came to pass… Rabies shots.

I knew a few things about rabies shots. If they do not know about the dog’s records, and this might have been a stray, they would have to kill the dog and check its brain. They used to be up to 21 shots in the stomach but now they are less. The difference is that they were in the arm now and each one was excruciating. All of this could be solved if the dog had an owner, and they had their records up-to-date. I did not want the dog killed, but the person I spoke to from Animal Control mentioned that strays were very common in that area and it was likely that this dog was one of them. Most importantly, rabies is fatal if not treated. Does it sound like I was anxious? That’s because I was, and anxiety was one of the symptoms.

The doctor told me I had five days to figure out the records, then redressed the bandages on my arm and leg. His office gave me my bill, which turned out to another patient’s and sent me on my way. I couldn’t do anything until after New Year’s. Already having reports in with the Sheriff and Animal Control, I could only wait to hear something, but I was panicking. Each day was scarier, as the idea of impending shots… painful shots… very painful shots…was looming. I reported that the dog was an orange or tan Boxer and was average height for one. The officer I dealt with checked into the house I was at and they denied the dog was theirs, which left Animal Control to be my solace.

I took a lunch break from work, something I didn’t often do and went to Animal Control to meet with the person I was dealing with. They showed me the dog they caught in the area and suspected was the one I had a run in with. The dog was a sweet and loving. He wanted to play with me and get out of his cage. He was black with brown speckles and stood much taller than I recalled from the other night… And he was a Mastiff. I’m not saying I’m the most reliable source, nor am I saying I know the breed of every dog, especially in the middle of the night in a poorly lit area, but this was not the dog that attacked me. This was a dog that wanted a home and to be pet. I let him sniff me and it was all pleasant. Back to the drawing board.

One more day passed and it was now day three; four if you count the night I was bitten. The pressure was on. I got a call that evening from Animal Control and they said there was another possible dog, but I would have to go to a local vet to see it. All the while, I was saying I didn’t want to sue anyone, I just wanted to know if I needed shots or not.

It turns out, the person whose house I was in front of, and hit the call box for, was a vet. He owned a dog that stays days at his clinic and was a Boxer. The doctor denied it was his dog because his was fawn colored, and not orange or brown. Let me write that again, FAWN colored. What they hell is FAWN? Oh, it’s a yellowish-brown. That’s pretty close to orange-brown when seen at night.

I called a friend and asked if he would go with me to the vet after work and he agreed. We met there and in the waiting room, I saw one of my customers. She breeds Labradoodles and this is where she would take them to get a clean bill of health. We talked and I informed her of what had transpired. Animal Control showed and they took me (alone) back to see the dog in question. Where we went, there were two rooms. A lobby, with one set of dogs, leading to another behind it, with another set of dogs. There was a drop splitting the rooms with a raised tile bar, further dividing it. As soon as I crossed the tiled bar, one of the dogs started having a massive conniption. It wanted out of that cage and at my throat. I was told the dog I was seeing was gentle and wouldn’t hurt anyone. Sweet and calm. Oh, and this dog that wanted to kill me, a light brown, almost orange Boxer, the one I was there to see. I was there for maybe 30 seconds before they quickly ushered me out.

The good news, we discovered the dog that attacked me. We even verified it was up-to-date on its records. No need for the shots, and no need to worry about death… from this. The bad news, I was dealing a dog that hated me. No dogs disliked me until I got Belle (see, it still is about her), but even then, none hated me like this one clearly did. Not only was I dealing with a dog that hated me, I was dealing with a vet that clearly did not care about other people. I was highly anxious about needing the shots that he could have easily remedied by admitting to having the dog in question and the proper records. What a jerk? I told my customer what happened with the dog in the other room, as she, and everyone in there, heard the commotion. (Later I discovered she stopped seeing the vet for several reasons, this being one of them.)

My friend and I left the waiting area and talked with Animal Control outside. I asked them what typically happened when this occurred. They said nothing really. I told them I wasn’t litigious and had no interest in suing, but after finding out that the owner was a vet and was delaying access to records, I was considering it. I asked them and my friend if I should sue. Both said it was up to me, but paused and gave me their opinions. The Animal Control Officer’s was off the record, and I just don’t want to say what my friend thought.

Sarah happened to be a nurse and I was letting her look over the wounds and redress them again, as I did not touch them for three days. I was kind of scared to. Now that I knew I didn’t need to go back to the doctor, I was the one that needed to take care of it. As she pulled the bandages off, a chunk of something came off my leg. Couldn’t have been skin because the flap that was bitten out was still attached. It was a piece of fat. The same thing that happens to animals, happens to people. I was living proof. But the injury was healing. I was able to move on to Band-Aids on the next go round.

The next day, I checked the internet about dog bites and what can be done about it. Lots of lawyers were out there, as they always are. I contacted the biggest name in our town because he had my best interested in mind. That’s what all his ads say. Left a message with the receptionist and got a callback. The first question: Do you have insurance? I did. $35 co-pay and I was done. Second question: Is there damage of a permanent nature? I had two bite marks, one on my arm and one on my leg. (Ten years later, the one on my arm is noticeable, only if you know what you are looking for.) The verdict: There was nothing they could do for me. This was not a police case and they couldn’t do anything for me and the lawyer wouldn’t do anything as a civil case. They would be able to get my medical bills paid… $35. Didn’t make much of a payout to them. I’m discovering, lawyers really aren’t that good for anything unless there are big payouts.

So there is a possibility that the vet let his dog lose again in the neighborhood and it attacked someone else. There was no consequence to his actions and based on what I heard about him, it seemed like he would let the dog bite someone again.

That night was the last time I walked Belle that far at night. She pretty much became a house dog at that point. I would walk her up and down my driveway. It’s a pretty long driveway. And I would take her in the back and side yards on leash, but the two of us never had those long walks at night anymore.

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