EDITOR'S NOTE -- WARNING: Some people may find the photos attached to this blog to be graphic. Please use your discretion.
WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- For several years now, the third week in May has been dubbed "Dog Bite Prevention Week." The American Veterinary Medical Association says that 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year and that most, if not all, are preventable. Of those 4.5 million bitten, 800,000 people need medical attention.
I was one of those 800,000 on Sunday while visiting family in Birmingham. It happened so quickly. One moment, I was watching TV, sitting next to my 20-year-old nephew, when something fell on the floor. I reached down to get it. Their dog must have felt I was challenging it when my face got too close to his and the next thing I knew, the right side of my face and right ear had been bitten pretty substantially. There were less serious punctures in the right front lower cheek.
Over the next three hours, I would go to the ER and get treated for the wound. The good doctors at the University of Alabama-Birmingham Medical Center took great care of me and I expect to heal well.
This incident hasn't changed my love of dogs. They are great companions and loving family members. I look forward to Thursday's noon news when we do our Petline 9 segment where we often have shelter dogs that we are showcasing so that we can get them permanent homes.
Bottom line: I let my guard down and the dog had a bad moment. I feel lucky that the injury wasn't worse, but it has kept me off the air this week. Please use my experience as a reminder to keep your face away from dogs that you do not know extremely well.
For more information about Dog Bite Prevention, please check out the American Veterinary Medical Association's website at https://www.avma.org/public/Pages/Dog-Bite-Prevention.aspx
Also, Andrea Roane interviewed Dr. Ivanov Castellanos from the Norbeck Animal Clinic on Friday's WUSA9 News at Noon about Dog Bite Prevention. You can see the interview here: