Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dog Runs

No, I've not acquired a dog that runs with me nor am I doing my runs in a dog run. I'm in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Where I'm currently running in the mornings there are just a lot of dogs. This morning, I must have seen 15-20. The dog in the picture under the pot looks just like the dogs I saw -- they seem to be Basenji-Schensi. (OK, for some reason, I can't get pictures to load into the blog -- I'll try later.)

Frankly, seeing dogs when I run makes me a little nervous. About 11 years ago, I was running in a small town in Tanzania. I heard dogs barking but didn't think too much about it until I looked around and saw 6 round the corner of a building heading for me -- same general type as the Basenji-Schensi. I stopped and tried to run them off by pretending to toss a rock at them. The barely broke stride but came up to me and started circling. Needless to say, I was a bit nervous but didn't want to excite them -- not with 6 of them circling. There was nobody close around at 6AM except an old man who was sitting down a block or so away. One of them apparently decided he wanted to see what white meat tasted like and I watched him clamp down on my calf.

Fortunately, he seemed to decide that white meat wasn't for him and the dogs turned and ran off. It was the strangest thing. Frankly, it was as if an angel that I couldn't see had stepped between me and the dogs and they weren't sticking around to see what might happen. I was a couple of miles from where I needed to be -- no cell phones and no one knew where I was. So, there was nothing to do but run back with pretty nice holes on both the front and back of my leg and blood dripping down my leg. I had never had a rabies vaccine and there was no vaccine or globulin in this little town and none in Nairobi. So, the meds were flown from Johannesburg, S Africa to Nairobi and one of our mission pilots flew it down to Tanzania -- he was coming anyway, so just came a couple of days early. The missionary doctor who gave me the shots said that if someone is bit by a rabid dog, the symptoms could show up anytime in the succeeding 3 years. That made me feel really good and, frankly, I did have some concern for the next 3 years. Fortunately, either the dog wasn't rabid or the vaccine/globulin combo worked.

I still have the scars on my leg. It was hard to start running again because of trepidation about dogs and I did carry a rungu for a while whenever I ran. (Well, I was going to post a picture of a rungu but I still can't upload pictures.)

At any rate, I still have some concern about dogs when I run, especially in Africa. I'm grateful that the ones around here don't seem to care that I'm around. Most haven't even looked my way.

This morning's run was 3.7 miles at a pace of 8:52 mpm. Slower than I wished but still pretty decent.

Run well, y'all,
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