We left off our last post at the fishing boats when suddenly three dogs approached as Ginette was taking photographs.
She froze, and in one aggressive move, unprovoked, one dog attacked. She screamed!!
On the verge of tears, “He just bit me.” Ginette yelled as she pulled down her pants for Gord to have a look, “am I bleeding?”
“No blood, just one well-defined 4-inch tooth-scratch.”
A few more swear words.
Before leaving Canada, we received many vaccination shots, but for some unknown reason that we can’t recall, we didn’t get the Rabies shots — don’t ask!!
Back at the hotel, Gord cleaned the wound. The odds were minimal that the dog was rabid, he was probably just protecting his territory. Still, Ginette didn’t want to be a statistic and die a slow painful death as the Rabies virus devoured her central nervous system. A few hours later we visited the local hospital, and in her elementary Spanish, Ginette made herself understood and was taken to the department that handled bites from dogs, bats, spiders and snakes. We were told that all the personnel were gone for the day and to come back at eight the next morning.
The next day a small queue was already forming outside the entrance.
We had an appointment so we were let through to the animal control (bites) department and they asked a lot of questions regarding the dog to locate and determine if the dog was rabid.
The hospital corridors were jam-packed with patients and their families. We entered a room full of mothers and babies, and a nurse filled out some paperwork the old-fashioned way of; pen, paper, and carbon copy. Beside us, a mother pressed her index finger on an ink pad, leaving a fingerprint as her signature.
A half-hour later Ginette had received her first of five post-bite rabies vaccinations, and over the next fifteen days (about four days apart) she would require four more.
The Rabies vaccination is free of charge in Peru. Since Barranca, we have visited two other hospitals, in Ica and Cusco for shot two and three. All things considered the health care in Peru has been attentive, professional, and prompt.
We are much more vigilant now in our observation and proximity to dogs at large, especially with those near houses, farms or boats where they may have been trained to protect the premises.
Barranca is probably no different from the other cities throughout Ecuador and Peru that we’ve visited so far, but the dog bite, the visit at the local hospital, and the signs of poverty remind us daily to count our blessings.