Rabid DogsThe rabid dogs are real. I was bit by one. I suppose I can't say with a certainty that the thing was rabid, but I'm pretty sure. Basically, Ashley and I were walking on the sidewalk one evening when we encountered three dogs adjacent to the sidewalk. Two of them were barking and growling, while the third seemed to be in a deep slumber. Just to be safe, we decided to give them a wide berth as we walked past. Our efforts seemed to appease the barkers, who quieted down as we walked past. If their body language were put to words, it'd say something like "That's right chump, you've got nothing. Go home and cry to mamma." Just as I relaxed (dogs always seem to make me nervous. I think it comes from my childhood job as paper delivery boy), the sleeper jumped up, ran towards me and bit my leg. No growl, snort, or bark. Just a lightning fast dash and a bite. It seemed that's all he wanted to accomplish, and he backed off as soon as I turned towards him. The bite itself didn't really hurt but the skin was broken.
Just a scratch reallyThat night, Ashley suggested that the dog might have been rabid. Of course, I didn't believe her. The dog wasn't foaming from the mouth and it had a relatively wimpy bite. I figured it was more likely that the poor thing was just suffering from a little doggy nightmare and bit me in its sleep without realizing what it was doing. Ashley didn't give up though. She brought Google to her aid and started quoting me a bunch of internet facts, which she may or may not have made up on the spot.
"Gee, did you know that if you are infected by rabies, it can take up to seven years to show symptoms?" "Look here, It says that if left untreated rabies is 100% fatal, and it has to be treated within 1 week of an exposure if you already have your shots." "Did you know that it's impossible to tell if a dog has rabies just by looking at it? Not all infected animals foam at the mouths." "This says that as many as 85% of all dogs in Ayutthaya may be infected with rabies." "Rabid dog bites look the same as non-rabid dog bites. If you see signs of infection it's already too late."You get the picture. After three days of this, I eventually caved in and agreed to seek treatment in Chiang Mai. An experience that I can only describe as eye-openingly pleasant. I saw a doctor within minutes of entering the hospital (who, to my annoyance, said that I absolutely needed the shots - making me have to deal with Ashley's "I told-you-so's for the next couple of days). I received my first booster shot from the nurse a few minutes after that. Best of all, the cost of the vaccine was fairly minimal. In total, for two shots of rabies vaccine and the doctor's consultation, we paid 2,115 Bhat ($72.93CAD). Looking back at the rabies vaccines we received in Canada before we left on this trip (which I'm now glad we did) I noticed that the same thing would have cost us $490CAD. Much cheaper in Thailand!