November 20, 2011

The Black Charlie Brown Cloud

It seems as though I have the black Charlie Brown cloud over my head lately. So, I have been resting and recovering since the big DNF last Sunday. And I will say that for all practical purposes, I am feeling like myself. I haven't done any speedwork yet, promised the doctor and friends I would only run easy for 10 days. Well there was this one little fartlek I ran...

Thursday morning I headed out on my normal 8 mile route. It's an out-and-back route. I passed a house with a chain length fence with some angry dogs barking. (This is not unusual; they always do that, but never come out.) I'm not sure of EXACTLY what happened, but when I turned around and went back past the house, I suddenly found myself pinned up against the chain length fence with a gray/white pit bull and tan mutt trying to eat me alive. I began screaming at the top of my lungs. The front of my body was against the fence and I actually started trying to climb it. I was trying to also pepper spray them. Here's the unfortunate part, there was only a TINY bit left. It was coming out like a little drizzle while I was getting mauled. I was trying to kick the dogs trying to get away. And I can't believe a single person didn't hear me. This is a residential area! I don't know how, but I finally broke free. I began sprinting towards the highway, closest route to my apartment, away from dogs. While I was running, I could feel the back of my right leg burning, but wasn't sure of the damage. I kept telling myself, "You're okay. Don't freak out." It wasn't until I got to the lit parking lot of my apartment when I stopped to assess. I could tell it was somewhere around my butt, and when I put my hand back there, it was covered with blood. I ran upstairs and woke up TP. (Yeah, apparently I'm fragile now b/c he's stayed with me every night since the hospital stay.) He jumped up and just kept saying, "Oh my god," over and over again. He got me calmed down, and wiped the leg off. He determined that I had two puncture wounds, but nothing else too bad. He said he wasn't sure if I should go to the hospital (They were bleeding badly.), but that I should definitely call the police.

Always find the humor in every situation. The officer came over and took all my information, and then had to take pictures. One of the punctures is on my butt...
"Um, mam, could you pull your shorts up a little higher. Dang, where's the zoom on this thing?" The officer gave me a number to call later in the day to follow up. He suggested that if I didn't go to the ER, that I at least go to Urgent Care when it opened. That's what I did.

My official diagnosis reads that I have two puncture wounds and various scratches and bruises. I had to get a tetanus shot and a prescription for Bactrim (strong antibiotic). He then gave me my 10 day notice- if the dog is not identified and either quarantined or proof of vaccination is shown, I will need the rabies treatment. Awesome. They had me also fill out papers for the health department.

Ok, so now to the investigation of the Mean Dogs. The needed dog is actually just the gray pit bull. The smaller tan dog mostly just scratched and jumped on me, no bites. (Sidenote, "pit bull" is not an actual breed of dog. This name is a slang/nickname for this type of animal b/c they were originally used to fight in pits. Unfortunately, this still happens in this county. More on this later.) The police went to the house with the fence, and the small tan dog was outside (inside the fence now). The gray pit bull was in the window; so the clever officer took a picture. [This can not be used as legal evidence without a warrant (or owner permission), since it was inside.] He went to the door, just hoping to get the people to let him in, and then show proof of vaccination.
*It is a misdemeanor to allow your pets to run outside your yard, unless they are on a leash.
*It is a misdemeanor to have unvaccinated pets.
*This exact pit bull was picked up by animal control for running loose a few months back. The owners had to pay a $350 fine to reclaim the dog.

The owners were not nice. They were not honest. They claimed there were NO dogs inside the house, and their only dogs were the tan and black one in the yard. The officer left to go begin paperwork for a warrant. In the meantime, I've been working all day, not able to use the phone or see what was going on with all this. Oh the joys of a being a schoolteacher! The health department is in communication with the police department, helping the police to get the warrant. Unfortunately, the investigator got off work at 4:00 on Friday and won't be back all weekend. So, we are at a standstill until Monday, giving the owners plenty of time to hide/remove the dog.

The man from the health department is really a cool guy. He actually went through the rabies shots b/c of a raccoon bite. He was very intent on getting this dog quarantined or making owners show proof. He said that if I could get a picture of the dog in their yard, that would be enough for an immediate warrant, not requiring me to go sign a bunch of legal documents. (I have no idea what all this means. I am so legally unaware.) He said he would be "in the area" this weekend, riding by their house to try to get a photo, too. I've been by their house about 8 times since the bite. And nothing. I wanted to go by on foot, thought they might be "provoked" by runners, like before. TP basically begged me not to do this. So, I didn't. I think he also talked to my running buddies, because now it seems that I have running dates lined up every day!

And there you go, my black Charlie Brown cloud. I was really, really down about it on Friday night. layed on the couch looking at myself- scratches, bruises, puncture wounds, not to mention the marks left from my IV and blood tests. Then there are the scars on my knees and the scab still on my elbow from falls. And I'm thinking, "CAN I PLEASE CATCH A FREAKING BREAK HERE????"

But maybe those are my breaks. Really, runners have died from heat exhaustion and dehydration. People have been seriously injured from dog attacks. I'm still left angry and sad, though. I'm really disappointed in how the pet owners are handling this. I even offered that if they just willingly quarantine their pet or show proof, I will not press charges. (The thing with this is that will still have to pay the fine for their pet being loose, because obviously their pet was loose if it bit me. That is the city's rule, not mine.) At this point, I have decided to press charges, but have still left the offer open to drop them. As of Monday, there should be a warrant for the police to take the dog, or force owners to show vaccination records. Hopefully, the dog is still there. If it is, and police have to use the warrant, I will press charges. I don't even know what this will involve; I will not be in it for anything financial for me, unless I have to get the rabies shots and insurance doesn't pay for it or the copay is high. I will be in for it for ALL animals to be removed from the home. In my opinion, if someone can not be responsible for them, and try to make a bad situation right, they don't deserve to have the animals. Not to mention that this particular house is a QUARTER mile from the large municipal park with all the children's ball fields. What if the dog had attacked a child????? What if I had been pushing a baby stroller????? Not safe.

I'm trying hard to have a positive outlook on all these challenges I'm facing regarding my running. I know I'd never quit, but sometimes that sure does seem easier.


  1. Words cannot even express. . . .I HATE that this happened to you. This is just so wrong on so many levels.

    It's a traumatic experience and if it were me I would just be afraid to run anywhere but on a treadmill. I hate, hate, HATE that the owners just let their violent dogs go loose. It's so more than irresponsible it is CRIMINAL. It's as if they attacked you themselves. This makes me so mad.... I am just really livid right now. In Virginia if a dog bites, then it has to be put down. That dog needs to be put down and the owners need to be punished severely.

  2. That's horrible. I've never had anything like that happen, and I'm still really afraid of dogs. I hope you don't have to to through the rabies treatment, and I hope those dog owners see the error in their ways and keep that dog locked in the yard!

  3. Really hope you or someone else gets the photo you need! Very proud of you for seeing this through and pressing charges. Horrible people, it appears. Good luck, thinking about you.

  4. I am so so sorry for this! (((hugs))) I really hope you get justice soon...and avoid the rabies shots! Thinking of you and sending good blue-skies vibes.

  5. Here's the real quote I so butchered last night (and may only be somewhat relevant to the post):

    “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” - Randy Pausch

    I don't think we fit the "other people" category....:)

  6. Anonymous11/21/2011

    ugh this is SO sad. my roommate actually has a rescue pit bull. it's good with people but I still don't even try to run with it... they are just so strong. I will be crossing my fingers that you get a warrant today or at the very least that the rabies shots get paid for!