On Mother’s Day I did get some beautiful cards and flowers, all handmade by the children. I didn’t quite manage breakfast in bed – it was available but only after I had got up and been to the bakery so it had lost some of its appeal by the time I got back. My lie in the hammock didn’t materialise either – it was dominated all day by Katie, her friend and all their dolls and teddies. I did have a lovely home cooked lunch (cooked by me – but I won’t complain as I enjoyed the reprieve from child care and I don’t cook much these days so it was quite relaxing) followed by a walk into town to get an ice cream and then a meander to the beach.
The sun shone all day, the sky was a deep blue and it was indeed for me a day of relaxation, joy and jubilee…..until we started our walk home from the beach…..
The children begged to walk back “the secret way” so we took a slight detour from our normal well-travelled route, via some narrow passages just behind our house. Nowhere that we haven’t walked several times before. We came across two big dogs (Rotweilers, we think) which are always there, but they are usually locked in their garden. Today the owner was chatting with his neighbour and the gate was open. The dogs were lying in the road. Whilst I would never describe myself as a “dog-person” I don’t mind them but I am not particularly knowledgeable about what any of their behaviours mean.
In England we have many friends and relatives who have dogs and Rich and the children absolutely adore all of them. Rich grew up with dogs, would love us to have one day, and would definitely describe himself as a “dog-person”. But as a precaution here, we both always advise the children not to engage with dogs in any way, explaining that not all dogs are friendly and we can’t know how strange dogs will react to children or any attention. Ben and I were walking slightly ahead of Rich the others as we passed the dogs so I didn’t realised what had happened until it was over.
The dogs started to growl quite fiercely as we walked by (a sign of an angry dog protecting its turf apparently) so Rich moved to put himself between the dogs and the other children as an instinctive precaution. This slight move was all it took to provoke one of the dogs into sinking his teeth into Rich’s calf. Not wanting to scare the children, he didn’t say anything about it until we arrived home but of course we were all curious about the blood on his leg. It’s not a deep wound but the dog had very powerful jaws and has bruised the calf so badly that he can barely walk.
We did some home first aid last night and we had all had tetanus and rabies shots before we came here but after a fairly painful night I insisted that Rich visit a doctor today. So once again, after a visit to the local hospital, we are many £’s lighter but impressed by the Dominican medical service. He was seen immediately. He’s had a couple more painful injections, a clean dressing and a course of antibiotics, pain killers and anti-inflammatories. And of course, was compelled to spend the whole day in the hammock as it is too painful to walk on.
The purpose of this post is purely for completeness, and to illustrate yet another bizarre experience that we have had, not to raise a debate about dangerous dogs in the DR. Yes there are plenty of dogs around and lots of them are homeless and often pitifully mal-nourished but they are all very docile and keep themselves to themselves. None of us has ever felt the lease bit threatened by a dog and our feelings have not changed in spite of this. The dog which bit Rich is healthy, well fed and has an (albeit irresponsible) owner. They are guard dogs and should definitely not have been left to roam the street unleashed but we do feel this event in itself was an unfortunate one off and could realistically have happened anywhere in the world. But well done brave Daddy for sensing the danger and putting yourself between it and us – you have our permission to lie in the hammock all week.