Who let the dog out?

Feb. 19, 2004, midnight | By Fidan Karimova | 16 years, 9 months ago

The dog, a Labrador retriever, seemed friendly, wagging its tail and eager to be petted. The first time I petted it, the dog seemed to be enjoying it, but the second time didn't go that well. Just as I leaned over to pet the dog, it jumped at me. The next minute, I was rushing to the bathroom to wash my face with cold water. Looking in the mirror I saw that the skin on my nose and cheek was ripped and blood was streaming down my face. The dog had bitten me.

There is a saying, "A dog is a man's best friend," proven by the fact that there are so many dogs who guide the blind, serve as police dogs, sense epileptic seizures and perform many other tasks. However, canines still have animal instincts, and it takes training to get them to behave.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, each year, 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs, and as many as a million people require medical attention.

According to one article, Case control study of risk factors, 46 percent of students have been bitten by a dog by grade 12.

Junior Andrew Curtis was also bitten by a Labrador when he was 11 years old. While riding a bike at his neighbor's house, he was attacked by the neighbor's dog. The dog was, as usual, calm and affable, until it pounced at him for no apparent reason. He got four puncture wounds from the incident and had to get two stitches per wound.

People would argue that Labradors are not the types of dogs that would attack humans, but that is not always the case. Canine psychologist Dr. Meisterfeld believes that "vicious dogs were created through a lack of training and not by their genetic makeup."

Junior Emily O'Brien was attacked by a German shepherd, when she was 11 years old. While over at a friend's house, she and her friends were teasing the dog. Eventually the dog jumped on O'Brien and bit her hand. She ended up getting two stitches.

Junior Russell Forman owns a dog that is a half cocker spaniel, half Newfoundland. His dog reacts really calmly to visitors. That is mostly due to the fact that it was trained, and importantly, at a young age.

The training plays an important role in the development of the dog's character and should be started at a young age. "Training is an ongoing process. Sort of the way parent teaches a child when they are little. It does not take 20 minutes," says Penelope Brown, a certified dog trainer.

The Aftermath

After the shock of seeing my torn face, I applied peroxide to stop the bleeding, and then examined the wound. The dog left a deep bite on my nose and had scratched my cheek enough to reveal the cheek muscle. I was quickly rushed to the emergency room.

The plastic surgeon was busy attending to another patient, so I had to wait for six hours until he was finished. By that time, the torn skin had turned black. When the plastic surgeon finished placing the stitches, I reexamined my face in the mirror, this time with 11 new stitches that made the face resemble Frankenstein's, with the jagged, black stitches.

Although stitches are a lasting consequence of a dog bite in many cases, another end result of a dog bite is a fear of dogs. After my incident, I am more cautious around dogs. Even the smallest and most seemingly harmless dog causes me to twinge. When a dog looks at me for a long period of time and starts wagging its tail, I find myself becoming anxious.

Senior Mai-Quyen Huynh dislikes dogs entirely. "All dogs look ugly to me," she says. At seven years of age, Huynh was bitten by a dog in Vietnam; ever since, she has been afraid of dogs. "I just hate dogs. I am really scared," she says.

Nevertheless, dogs will stay a part of people's lives for many years to come and still serve as partners at work, or simply as companions to human beings. Even if you manage to get an animal out of the wild, you cannot get the wildness out of the animal, but you can lower the chances of an attack. "It is never too late to train," says Brown.

Biting facts:

  • 4.7 million Americans get bitten annually

  • 60 percent of the victims are kids

  • 1 million people are hospitalized each year

Steps you can take to avoid getting bitten:

  • Never approach an unfamiliar dog

  • If approached by a dog, don't make sudden movements

  • If a dog knocks you over, roll into a ball and stay still

Information compiled from http://www.hon.ch

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Fidan Karimova. Fidan is a SENIOR!!! She is happy to be a part of the Silver Chips staff, considering that it's the best high school newspaper ever! She would also like to point out that she is one of two Azerbaijani students at Blair and proud to … More »

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