dog bites

Dog bite statistics and novel writing

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If you have been bitten by a dog you’re in good company.  I read the following statistics in the May 16, 2014 issue of the Seattle Times newspaper:

  • In 2013, 4.5 million Americans were bitten by dogs in the United States;
  • The above total includes more than 2 million children and almost 5,600 U.S Postal Service employees.

Gee, statistics for 2014 will include me in the number of Americans bitten in the United States.  I seem to have greater potential for becoming part of those statistics than making a name for myself as a published author.

Future Margarita rewards for when my manuscript gets picked up.
Future Margarita rewards for when my manuscript gets picked up.

The title for this article is my shameless attempt to keep my novel-writing in the forefront of everyone’s minds.

I’m pretty excited however – not by the dog bite episode of May 7th – but by the status of my manuscript.  I’ve almost finished reading it through – for the zillion’th time – and thus far I’m pleased with the cohesiveness of the storyline.  I’m still making edits in grammar and punctuation – semi-colons and hyphens/dashes are really stymieing me – but I’m hoping if I do my very best, a copy editor will do the rest.  I am 100% certain that an agent will want to represent a book that throws a personal and touching spotlight on those who are living with Alzheimer’s and dementia.  There’s not an agent or publisher out there who hasn’t been affected by this disease – either peripherally or specifically.

Please stay tuned as I will be providing updates in an effort to keep me on my toes, keep me honest, and get this d@*#mn book published.

Dog Owners: this one’s for you

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If you are a responsible dog owner who maintains control of your animal and does not allow it to leave your property without being under the control of a leash, you don’t need to read any further.

If your dog or dogs routinely leave your property and have access to any person walking near your property, then please pay attention to what I have to say.

I was bitten by a dog yesterday.

My neighborhood walking area.
My neighborhood walking area.

I live in rural Redmond, Washington, a beautiful area providing many scenic areas for residential walks.  Many dogs live in my rural neighborhood, and some of their owners have given these dogs carte blanche to freely run around the neighborhood – a neighborhood that has many children I might add.  But I digress.  Said carte-blanche-provided dogs don’t feel compelled to limit their pooping activity to their owner’s property, therefore when they roam the streets of my neighborhood and feel the urge to purge they do so and because they don’t have opposable thumbs they do not clean up their poop.  Disgusting for those of us who enjoy walking through the neighborhood.  But again, I digress.

Need I say more?
Need I say more?

These same dogs whose owners disobey the local leash law have full access to any child, adult or older adult person they come across.  Now to the point of my story.  I am a prolific walker and there is no street in my rural neighborhood that I have not traveled.  Yesterday afternoon I was minding my own business, enjoying a break in the rainy weather by taking a walk, when I turned onto 272nd Avenue NE, Redmond, WA 98053, when half-way down the block my walk was interrupted by two white-haired maltese-like dogs running out of their human’s property directly into my path.  My normal modis operandi in these instances is to tell the dog “No! No!” or words to that effect, and casually continue on my way.

Not this time.  These two dogs stayed at my heels, not letting me proceed on my own, bearing their teeth, barking like there was no tomorrow, and in a progressive show of defiance, one of them jumped up and bit me on the back of my left calf.  Okay, now I’m mad.  I’m screaming at these dogs to get away so I can leave the area, and they’re not buying it.  Where’s their human?  I guess the human was yelling for her dogs, although I couldn’t hear her over their barking, because one of them ran back onto the human’s property, leaving the other dog to continue on its terroristic rant at my expense.  (Perhaps said dog has “small dog syndrome”?)  Anyway, I was going to use my pepper spray on the remaining mutt but it was acting so vicious, I feared I would only aggravate the situation.

I finally heard a female human’s voice calling the remaining hairy terrorist, and that dog ran back onto the owner’s property.  At this point I am approximately 25 feet way from the gravel driveway and did not see the human, nor did I want to exchange conversational pleasantries.  I feared that if I walked back to the foot of the driveway to confront the human, her maltese-like dogs would consider me a threat and demand a pound of flesh from me.  Instead I yelled, “Your dog bit me!” to which she replied, “Sorry.”  She did not walk off her property to the street to see if I was okay.  I walked slowly away, looking back to see if she would do so, and she did not.

The balance of my day: at the advice of my doctor’s office when I called to tell them about my dog bite – 3 puncture wounds on my calf, drawing blood – I drove to the nearest hospital emergency room to receive any treatment the ER physician deemed necessary.  Fortunately no stitches were required and because there have been no confirmed rabies cases reported in King County – the county in which I live – in the past 30 years, there was no need for preventative rabies treatment.  The physician did prescribe an antibiotic, however, should the dog bite become infected.

Come on people!  Be responsible dog owners!

You owe it to the general public, and you owe it to your animals, to be responsible.  To their animals you ask?  Of course, because a complaint such as I filed with Animal Control, including photos of the injured leg, will initiate an investigation that might result in your dog or dogs to be removed from your house.

Bottom line: If you love Fluffy, you must protect Fluffy and all with whom he may come in contact.