Wednesday, April 01, 2009

When the Dog Bites

The Boy with his boo boo.

I'm really sad because I've heard of two dogs being put down in the past two days, all for being a dog.

The first was a normally happy pitbull. She was in her front yard minding her own business when the brat child next door, decided to tease the dog. The little girl was unsupervised and obviously had never been taught not to tease a dog she doesn't know. When the girl's own small yapper dog rushed the fence, the pitbull had had enough. She jumped the fence, attacking both child and small dog. Both of them needed stitches, but they lived. The pit wasn't so lucky.

The second occurence took place in my own family and has me spitting mad. My little second cousin, a 12-year-old who is more along the size of an eight-year-old, (he was always small for his age and talks like a toddler... really makes me wonder about his mother's wisdom of smoking incessantly while pregnant!) got bitten in the face by his Labrador.

He had just but food in Sarge the lab's bowl when, as my sweet little cousin is apt to do, he decided to hug the pup. Sarge protected his food and paid with his life.

I've always owned older rescue dogs...Mabel was my youngest ever. And many have had the growling while eating issue. With each of my girls, I have worked carefully and cautiously to break this habit. I wouldn't want them to attack a friend or my 86 year old mother when they were feeding my dogs. This takes time, awareness and patience.

My brother-in-law has always trained dogs and worked around dogs my whole life. As I child I was taught how to approach strange dogs or how to "read" one of our dogs that may be acting strangely. I still managed to get bit in the face by a strange German Shepherd at the age of four. And no one in my family took my side. They were all quick to point out what I did wrong to the dog.

I wish all parents took the time to teach their children how to behave around an animal. When my godson was a toddler, he wanted their rescued greyhound to play. Ticket was tired --- they had already played a lot. She ran and got under the piano. The boy crawled under there to try to get her to engage. His mom heard the dog growl and warned the boy to leave Ticket alone. Ticket ran into the kitchen; the boy followed and this time, she bit him.

I had babysitting duties the night the Boy was bit. As groggy as he was, he still insisted on feeding himself.

I've was so proud of my BFF that day. She got her son stitches and used the event as an educational opportunity. My godson learned that when Ticket growls, he better back off. Today he is a happy teenager with a cute scar on his chin and nose. And he LOVES dogs and animals of all varieties. He's one of Mabel's favorite people on the planet. And Ticket was a beloved and trusted part of the family until old age took her.

That's the Ticket!

I wish all parents could take a long hard look at the way their kids interact with their dogs. It's the responsible thing to do and really, if you aren't willing to take the time, you shouldn't have a dog...or a kid for that matter!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Parents don't seem to understand that they have to TEACH their kids things, they seem to assume that kids will automatically know not to cross the street without waiting to see if cars are coming, as well as other life lessons.

I worry that overly zealous towns and cities will automatically put down any dog of any breed that has bitten a person, regardless of the situation.