Polish Language Blog

About Rabid Dogs and Getting Really Mad Posted by on Nov 8, 2009 in Vocabulary

Remember Barb’s guest post about her trip to Poland? In it, at the very end, she mentioned, humorously no doubt, the famous Polish wildlife specimen – wściekły pies (rabid dog).

That comment has prompted one of the readers to send me an email asking whether it was true or not – if there really were rabid dogs in Poland. The reader was about to move to Poland and planned to take his dog with him. But now, after finding out that Poland was not a rabies free country, he was having second thoughts.

Yes, wścieklizna (rabies) is very much real in Poland. And as far as I know, all cats and dogs kept as pets must be vaccinated (koty i psy muszą być zaszczepione) against rabies. But also as far as I know, rabies is mostly prevalent in wild animals – squirrels, bats, foxes, (wiewiórki, nietoperze, lisy) etc…

What would concern me, as an animal lover, more are the numbers of stray dogs and cats (bezdomne, literally – homeless, psy i koty) in Poland.

And to calm my concerned reader who’s planning to bring his dog to Poland, this is most likely what Barb had in mind when she mentioned her wściekły pies – a stray that barks like crazy and lunges for your ankles when you walk by. Any dog that’s loud and aggressive (and doesn’t even have to be homeless) can be colloquially referred to as “wściekły pies”.

Incidentally, the adjective “wściekły” (feminine: wściekła, neuter: wściekłe, plural masculine personal: wściekli, plural all others: wściekłe) also means furious, mad (as foaming at the mouth mad), angry, livid.

And there’s even a verb – wściec się (perfective; imperfective: wściekać się) – to get angry, mad, furious, to see red, to go postal.

So, now all you ladies out there, you can say:

  • Jestem wściekła na niego. – I’m mad (angry) at him.
  • Wściekłam się na niego. – I got mad (angry) at him.

And gentlemen, please don’t ask me why I’m giving such examples today. Let’s just say that jestem naprawdę wściekła na niego (I am really mad at him) today. LOL!

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  1. Jessia:

    Said reader better stay away from all continental Europe, then, as rabies is not a problem confined to Poland…
    On a bit of a tangent, Anna, are you really wściekła jak osa (as angry as a wasp)? Did he doprowadzić Cię do szewskiej pasji (drive you into a cobbler’s rage) or do białej gorączki (into a white fever)?

    Straying (like a bezdomny pies) even further off topic, there is a drink that we like to make occasionally, called Wściekły Pies. You pour a shot glass half full of raspberry cordial (sok malinowy), add a few drops of Tabasco (there’s the rabid dog’s bite), and then carefully top up with vodka (poured over a spoon. The liquids separate perfectly if you do it right, producing a Polish flag in a shot glass. Down in one, and the raspberry cordial soothes your throat after the tabasco.
    Na zdrowie!

  2. Kenia:

    Ohh, i’m stunned, Anna! I’m one of the readers of the swedish blog and despite it’s good to know you are fine, I sadly see it’s only the swedish blog you are not writing anymore…
    For some reason you haven’t even replied to our comments and questions about the long pause.
    I have to say that I’ve felt even depressed, and I haven’t got used to your absence yet.
    You can see my email address here, so if you decide not to publish this comment (which I’d understand) and not to openly reply to it, please, at least, write some few lines in an email telling me what has happened, why you have stopped writing the swedish blog, or at least, if you plan to get back to it.
    I will really appreciate to hear from you.


  3. Basia:

    Hi everyone (particularly Jessia):
    I guess I have to come clean with this wsciekly pies business.
    Am I a dog lover? Absolutely
    Do I have more than a passing interest in the problem of strays and homeless animals? Yes.

    Ummmm…I confess to getting closely acquainted with the lovely drink concoction “wsciekly pies” while on holiday in Poland. (gulp). The “shots” are presented in fours to represent each leg of the dog.

  4. kuba:

    I took three dogs to Poland from the USA, a Westy, and two labradors. They all had their shots. It was not a problem.
    We have rabies here in the US as well mostly with wild animals so shots are needed. We also have heardworm here in the US.
    So if you have dogs take em and don’t leave them behind.

  5. Michal M:

    I think it depends quite a lot on where you live. I’ve never heard of rabid dogs or other rabid animals showing up in the cities in Poland, but it can be a problem if you live in the countryside. But, as others have pointed out, it’s an issue in a lot of countries, hence the need for vaccination.

    From what I’ve heard from people who live outside the cities, especially near forests, rabid foxes tend to be the biggest issue. Apparently the way to tell healthy from rabid is that a healthy fox is, by instinct, afraid of humans and will run away if it sees you. However, if you come across a fox that doesn’t seem scared of you or is unusually friendly then it’s best to stay away from it.