By trying to be a good samaritan. That’s how!
Five days before finally leaving for our long awaited honeymoon in Jamaica, I was out walking the dogs and talking to neighbors when two collared but loose dogs wandered across the street. Thinking they were going to get hit by a car, my neighbor suggested to his wife that she take their dogs home, while he tried to get the strays to come to him. One of them ran off, while the other came happily over and wagged its tail while being petted.
I told him I’d take my dogs home, and call animal control. Of course animal control didn’t answer, and had no voicemail, so I called the police, who told me they might be able to get a car up there “in a few hours”. Mindful of the fact that our neighbor was now trapped on the corner holding a strange dog’s collar, and loathe to tell him to just let it go, I had a bright idea. I’d take out one of my dogs’ spare leads, put it on the stray, and tie him to the fence, so the cops could come at their leisure.
I explained all this to my neighbor, who thought it was a good idea too. So very gently, we attached the lead to the dogs collar, and started to walk him across the street to the fence. Half-way across, he froze up and growled. Carefully, so as not to startle him, I turned around to look at him and tried to make reassuring noises, at which time he snapped at my hand holding the lead, which I dropped, and then he ran off down the street.
We were disappointed, but figured we’d tried our best, and walked home. It was only later, when I was washing my hands, that I noticed the single, unbelievably tiny, scarlet droplet on the back of my hand that indicated that the dog had broken my skin ever so slightly.
Now it was serious. I called my doctor’s office, who directed me to the county department of health, who sent me to the emergency room with special papers requesting, you guessed it, rabies shots. Fortunately (I’m told) modern rabies vaccination no longer requires long needles to be jabbed repeatedly into your abdomen. What it does require, however, is dozens of small shots delivered to a startlingly wide variety of places over a fourteen day period. Five days before we left for Jamaica. Do you see the problem here?
Yup, that’s right, the course of treatment *must* be taken over a period, with no breaks, or the rabies, assuming you’re infected, pretty much kills your ass dead. The best part? Jamaica has almost no rabies vaccine available, and you can’t bring any with you, because you might be a terrorist, off to create a weaponized biological agent in a seaside resort. So unless we found the dog, and it tested negative, no honeymoon for us.
Fortunately, after three days of combing the neighborhood, someone in our neighborhood association identified the dog from my description, and they brought it in to keep it under observation. Honeymoon disaster averted! Also, I got away with only 9 shots, since I didn’t have to complete the last two-thirds of the treatment.
And so, off we went to Jamaica!