I have two white stars on my right forearm — not tattoos, scars.
The are from the worst bite I’ve ever received. A 100-pound dog named Kobe. This was my most frustrating case.
He had come in for a rabies vaccination as he was past due. His owners had been contacted by animal control and thus were obliged to come.
He was apparently born an anxious dog, but his owners had done him no favors, keeping him chained in a backyard, never socializing him and actually worsening his innate anxiety with abuse.
They told us they couldn’t bring him inside because he was too aggressive to people and animals.
Then they proceeded to try and calm him down by screaming at him and hitting him with his leash.
Now I don’t expect you to know everything about dog psychiatry, but do you think that helped?
They recommended we muzzle him, then hit him several more times.
When I approached with the muzzle, from behind so as to hopefully be less threatening, he showed me how slow my reflexes are.
He bit full-tooth-deep through my right forearm, his top and bottom canine teeth sinking as far into my flesh as possible. I waited outside while my assistant got me a towel to stop the blood loss, as I was forming quite the puddle. I drove myself to the hospital.
I never said I’m the smartest crayon in the box.
The end result was two large scars, a chipped bone and permanent nerve damage to my right thumb.
Later, I recommended Kobe be seen by a behavioral specialist to help with his anxiety and aggressiveness. And it was not just for me. The owners had two toddler grandchildren. They declined.
After his quarantine for rabies monitoring — a regular thing for animals that bite humans and aren’t vaccinated — they returned for his rabies booster.
We had advised them to muzzle him before coming to the clinic. They declined, saying the sheriff told them they didn’t have to. Our receptionist became my hero that day when she replied “Then I’d have the sheriff give him his rabies vaccine.”
Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.