Once when I was commanding a regiment, I was bitten by a stray dog. We were out on an overnight regimental picnic at a scenic forest resort. In the evening, while I was taking a brisk walk all by myself, a stray dog suddenly appeared out of nowhere and snapped at my right leg. Before I could react, he had done his job and scooted.
A quick inspection of the leg revealed a bloody wound. Luckily, it was not too painful. I decided not to tell anybody as the news would rob the picnic of its fun.
Next day, I was promptly admitted to the hospital. The breaking news, of the commanding officer bitten by a dog, spread in the regiment like wild fire. My Subedar Major (SM), visibly upset, came running to the hospital to enquire.
I told him that if the dog could be traced somehow, it would help. Within no time, a search party was organised and in a matter of hours the accused was produced before the adjutant. The SM was furious and wanted to shoot the dog. After all, how dare a dog, that too a stray one, have the audacity to bite the CO Sahib?
However, I quietly explained to the SM how important it was for the dog to survive in order to rule out the chance of rabies. From then on, everybody's attitude changed. Naively, the men took it upon themselves to see that the dog didn't die at any cost.
So, the dog was given a separate cubicle with a caretaker. Morning and evening walks were introduced into his daily routine. He was put on a special diet as if preparing for some forthcoming athletics meet. The unit priest performed a hawan for his long and healthy life.
So, while the doctors in the hospital kept pumping injections into my stomach, this horrible-looking black son of a bitch (pun intended) was enjoying a VIP treatment in the regiment. Even in the hospital, the visitors coming to see me would first enquire about the dog's health. After all, my survival was so desperately linked to his.
The following fortnight unfolded like a suspense movie, with all eyes fixed on our black hero. Luckily, there was a happy ending. As for the dog, he was retained in the regiment as a mascot for having saved the life of the commanding officer.