It seems that you often find inspiration through strange circumstances.

While riding my bike through a vacant lot on the island a few weeks ago I was attacked and bitten by a dog. After a first responder confirmed that I needed to get some stitches, my wife drove me to the emergency room at Weems. The staff there was professional and treated me with great care but, while I was impressed and appreciative, that was not what surprised me most about the incident.

State law requires the hospital file a report with Animal Control when they treat bites. This report was filed and later that day I spoke to William Key at Franklin County Animal Control. The next morning he and a sheriff met me near the home of the dog’s owner, where I identified the dog that bit me. While he was clearly in control of the situation, William took time to talk to me about what happened, explained the additional report I had to file, and was sensitive with the animal, which was being impounded for a 10-day observation period. Somehow he did not fit my image of a person in his often very tough line of work.

A few days later, I got a voice mail that asked that I call William. When I returned the call, William said that he was just checking to see how I was doing and how my bite was healing. He has since again followed up with me to assure that the report was filed correctly.

While getting bitten was far from a pleasant experience, and while the dog’s owner has yet to express any remorse for his dog’s actions, things like this tend to remind you how decent and supportive people are. I was loaned crutches, had dinner brought over and received numerous expressions of sympathy from dear friends and other folks I hardly know. My wife seems to have been even more caring than usual these past few weeks, changing bandages frequently. The folks at Weems have seen me two more times with the same high level of care. Thanks to them, the wound is nearly healed.

I was most impressed, though, with the help and expressions of interest from William, perhaps because they were sincere and unexpected. It certainly provides me with an example of the difference taking a moment to express concern can make, and I will try to better follow his example.


Francis L. Giknis

St. George Island