Beware of the dog
After my night in my terrible motel on the outskirts of Indianapolis, I decided to take a quick wander before checking out at 11am. I needed breakfast. I also desperately needed a haircut.
￼￼I got my haircut (& beard-trim) but had to settle for an expensive supermarket for breakfast fruits. Then it was back to the motel for a quick post-haircut shower, repack, late checkout and late on the road.
Heading West out of Indy, 2 things were very noticeable: 1) The roads were massively better than the roads East of Indy; 2) The people were far more cautious/reserved/less-openly-friendly.
Thus my day was largely spent on the bike, pushing against what seemed like a relentless headwind & steady climb (“Upflats” I’m told they’re called (not hills)!), with no memorable interactions.
Except of course for a particular interaction I had when passing out of the small town of a Jamestown, IN. I’ve had many dogs come chasing after me on my bike – it’s a natural reaction for dogs to chase moving vehicles. My natural response is to stop and say hello, allow the dog(s) to see that I’m no threat, before I move off again. Besides, a loaded touring bike isn’t going to outrun a charging dog.
It’s an approach which has served me well. Usually, once I’m stopped, dogs are just cautious of the bike and keep their distance; or they slowly approach, I pet them a bit, and then either way, they choose to go away.
This dog showed neither common response. It just went straight for my legs. I hopped fully off the bike and stood with the bike between the dog and I, wheeling the bike to maintain this defence as the dog circled.
Very quickly, the dog’s owners – who were in their garden just a few meters away – were with me, trying to get their dog away or to calm down. They said their dog was friendly, barked but had never bitten anyone before. Yet no sooner was this said than the woman had her hand nipped.
Seconds later, it had my ankle. Then it attacked one of my panniers.
With a family member up at their house calling the dog, it was promptly coaxed and chased back up their drive and locked in it’s pen. Apologies received, I cycled off quickly.
I stopped about a mile later – sure no other dogs about – and set about tending to my wound. Cleaned up as best I could with alcohol wipes and a plaster to stop the slight bleeding, then I contacted the tri-club doctors for advice.
Even with travel insurance, it would probably still be cheaper to fly back to the UK than to go to a hospital in the US, so I wanted to know what course of action I could – or needed to – take. Fortunately, consensus was that I could self-treat with antiseptic cream and just keep an eye out for any infection.
About 15 miles further up the road, I saw a sign for a campsite. I had just started thinking looking for camping spots, so was happy to check it out. And despite the short mileage, for only $10 – a very reasonable price for shower, electricity, picnic tables, and a camping spot where I wouldn’t have to worry about anyone telling me to move on – I couldn’t refuse!