Depending on the line of work your company is in, the risk factor for encountering a dog can vary drastically. Employees at risk for encountering dogs in their line of work should keep the mindset that on a daily basis they may encounter a number of dogs on their route. However, this mindset does not lessen the fear when a potential attack is eminent. If employees are at risk for encountering dogs during work it is critical they are trained to never believe an owner when they state their dog won’t bite. Dogs have no discrimination and will look to exhort their dominance when given the chance. For employees who have suffered an attack, they know all to well how quickly a dog’s behavior can change. Once an employee suffers a dog bite it will never be forgotten and the physical scars of the attack remain as a vivid reminder of what they have survived. What seems like a simple task to an average person may now take a large amount of effort for those who have experienced a viscous dog attack. After the physical pain has subsided from a previous attack, the surviving individual may still be coming to terms emotionally with the permanent scarring left behind. The emotional turmoil of the scarring may leave the employee feeling embarrassed enough to wear a long sleeve shirt on a hot summer day just to avoid showing their scars to the world.
If the physical scarring was not enough for a dog bite victim to bear, they can now count on numerous emotional triggers lurking around every street corner. Imagine having to see the person who committed a heinous crime walk free everyday. These individuals may now feel like work is a hostile environment because their attacker is still free. When listening to dog bite victims recount their stories, they will often tell you the attack replays in their mind over and over again causing them to live in a constant state of fear. Once dog-bite victims have returned to work this fear may manifest into something much greater and cause the employee to have a complete emotional breakdown. Therapy can assist in allowing the individual to express any embarrassment or fear they have following the attack. Dog-bite survivors may be in need of an outlet to express the hardships of living with the physical disfigurement left by the attack. As an employer the mental state of an employee should be just as important as the physical welfare following an attack while at work. It is important to take every dog bite victim seriously and never belittle the emotional stress the incident may have placed on them.
Written By: Ashley Klawitter & Mitzi Robinson