How to Kill a Rabid Dog


Well on top of planning and teaching about all that health stuff, our house helper was bit by our landlord's dog. 


No, not this one, luckily. This is our favorite dog, the one who wags his tail at us, and recognizes us as friends. The other dog - usually called something like the spawn of Satan - is a black and white dog who hates non-Khmer people. And strangers. And loud noises. And chickens. And everything in the whole world. The black and white dog has made several attempts on our lives already, usually through incessant growling, barking, then running away when we take a step towards him. We always knew he would bite someone someday.

Unfortunately for our helper, it was her. Although the bite wasn't that serious, we had no idea if the dog was rabid or not (no one vaccinates their dogs here). And considering there were several people bit by a rabid dog last year in our city, it wasn't that unlikely. 

What followed were serious conversations about our options. One option was - no kidding - decapitate the dog, and send the head on ice to a lab in Phnom Penh who would do a biopsy to see if the dog had rabies or not. That cost about the same as doing the rabies vaccines, but the landlord decided he really didn't want to cut off a dog's head. And I certainly wasn't going to volunteer to do it!

We came up with a compromise - get rid of the dog and give our helper the rabies vaccine series. By "get rid of the dog", I had meant, kill off the dog as soon as possibly, preferably using rat poison. The landlords said, No, if we give the dog poison, no one will buy it off us. People like to eat dogs; and why not make a profit if you have to get rid of it?

Fortunately, we can order vaccines ourselves and don't have to rely on going to clinics to get shots for twice as much as their wholesale price (the convenience of nursing in a third-world country) - just one reason I was able to give myself a typhoid vaccine shot in the thigh last month. Life here makes you do things you'd think were insane anywhere else...