Runner v Dog23rd June 2002, re-produced with permission of the author, John Dawlings
John was until recently, a prominent member of Sydney-based club Woodstock Runners, before re-locating to the Philippines.
I went out for a run last night, as I do most evenings here. It was planned to be an easy half hour run going up to Friendship Gate on base then turning round down Perimeter Road and stopping at Nifty's for a couple of beers.
No trouble getting to Friendship nor turning down Perimeter Road. But after about 200 metres I heard some noise behind me followed by a bite in the leg. I stopped and picked up a stone to throw at the offending dog (not that it would have helped much) when to my amazement half a dozen guys who had been hanging around the Friendship jeepney stop picked up sticks and started chasing the dog. I subsequently found out that it had bitten one of their sons earlier in the day and they were on the look out for it. As I watched, they chased the dog around a corner and by the time I reached them, the dog was on the floor and in its death throes.
"What do you want to do?", they said. I replied that I would like to take the dog to a vet to test for rabies. So they dumped the nearly dead animal in a tricycle, sat me behind the driver and then one of them joined the dog in the passenger compartment. On arriving, I went in to see the vet and the tricycle driver unceremoniously dumped the nearly dead dog in the vet's forecourt.
"They should not have killed it", she said, "It is best to observe it for 3 days to see if it has rabies". We looked at the animal which clearly had about 3 minutes to live rather than 3 days and agreed that this would be a mistake that would be hard to rectify. "Can you test it for rabies?", I asked. "Not here", she said, "You will need to take it to San Fernando (about 20 kilometres away). They will be shut now but you should cut its head off and keep it in the freezer overnight. Tomorrow put the head on ice and take it to the Animal Analysis Unit in San Fernando".
Fine. So there I was with a nearly dead dog that needed to be decapitated and its head put in the freezer. She gave me a sack and pair of surgical gloves and my Filipino companion put the nearly dead dog in the sack. We got a tricycle to our house, offloaded the dog only to find that my wife, Beth, had gone shopping and I had no keys.
Fortunately she turned up minutes later and a discussion ensued in Filipino about what to do with the dog. Now I have been studying Filipino for a while and am quite adept at phrases like, "What would you like to eat?" and "What is the time?". My Filipino does not stretch to anatomical decisions about how to decapitate a dog. It soon became apparent however that I was going to have rabies injections like it or not. Whether this was because of concerns about my health or Beth's views of having a dog's head in her freezer, I am not sure. I suspect the latter. My Filipino companion left with the dog, which had now mercifully stopped kicking. They eat dogs in the Philippines and I am not sure if mad ones are excluded or are perhaps a delicacy. As a precaution I shall avoid the cafes around Friendship Gate for a while.
Two hours after being bitten, I had my first rabies injection. The good news is that I am allowed to drink and run during the course of injections and that I will then be immune to rabies for 5 years. The bad news is that I didn't think any of this was strange until the following morning. I must have been in the Philippines too long.