In New York, when your dog bites someone, you get a call from the county health office.
They get your vet’s information. They ask you if your dog is showing any signs of having rabies. They ask you to fax them your dog’s rabies vaccination certificate.
Then they tell you that you have to keep your dog alive and in quarantine for 10 days. Then they send you a certified letter informing you that if you do not keep your dog in quarantine for 10 days, they will take your dog and keep it in quarantine at your expense.
Quarantine means you have to keep the dog in your house at all times. When you have guests in the house, you have to keep your dog in a pen. And, if you let your dog out to go pee or poop, your dog must be on a leash and the person on the other end of the leash must be at least 21 years old.
After 10 days they call you again. They ask you if your dog is still alive. They ask you if your dog is showing any signs of rabies. Then they let you know whether you can keep your dog alive or if you have to put the dog down.
In our case, the dog bit the insurance agent. He’d come to the door to take measurements of the house for a new policy. Brooke answered the door. He bolted out past her and bit the guy in the leg, above the knee.
He’s been trained not to go through an outside door without permission. For 6 years, he’d go nose to the door and bark at people, but until last week he’d never bolted out. I don’t know what he was thinking. Maybe he had a stroke.
The 10-day quarantine was awful. His behavior got worse.
He’s not rabid. If he were rabid, he’d be dead by now. But I caught him getting into the kitchen trash, something else he hasn’t done since his first week in our house. Any time someone walks past the house, he goes nuts. Sometimes he goes nuts barking at nothing.
We had a consultation with the vet about his behavior. She’s keeping him for a week for observation. Then, maybe we’ll try anti-anxiety drugs and tranquilizers. We’ll still have to pen him up every time someone comes to the door before we open it.
Since he’s been gone at the vet’s, the house has been quiet. It’s been wonderful.
I wish I could say I missed him more. But I don’t. I’m not looking forward to life with a psychotic dog.
Maybe, if he gets some good drugs and calms down things will be better.