My husband and I are blessed to own our home. We love the extremely large back yard. And so do our wonderful fur babies.
Upon arriving home from work one day, I let our babies outside to do their business. I went into the bathroom, which has a window that faces into the back yard. I noticed that our neighbor’s dog was being followed by three young boys…all carrying sticks in their hands.
I watched the boys to make sure that they were not hitting the dog. When I saw that they were not, I continued on with my cleaning. That’s when the commotion began.
My dogs were barking like crazy and I noticed that they had all congregated in the back corner of the yard. Sure enough, there stood the youngest boy, who appeared to be about three years old. The boy was standing in the middle of the alley.
This made me angry. Cars typically come flying down that alley with little regard as to who may be out and about. I wondered where this boy’s parents were.
As I headed outside to bring my dogs in, the little boy kept walking closer and closer to our fence. Why weren’t his brothers watching him? We have three large “Beware of Dog” signs hanging up on our fence, but I knew that this boy couldn’t read.
“Guys, clam down. Inside!” I shouted as I raced to get them away from the fence. That’s when I heard the boy’s brothers.
“Guys, guys!” they mocked.
Most of my fur babies ran straight into the house. But not Theo. He stood rooted by the fence, barking and snarling for all he was worth. Theo was abused by children in his previous home. To this day, he still hates kids. He cannot be around them, even for a second.
I tried to calm him down and make my point to the older brothers by saying, “I know, Theo. You don’t like kids.”
I scooped Theo up and watched as the boy’s brothers came out from behind my neighbor’s house.
“Can we pet your dogs?” one boy had the nerve to ask.
“Not today. Not all of them are friendly,” I said and promptly went inside and slammed the door.
This type of behavior simply enrages me. Why are parents teaching their children that it is acceptable to go up to dogs that they do not know and pet them? This is truly a recipe for disaster.
I kept envisioning the child sticking his chubby little hand through the chain link fence and Theo biting him. The boy would scream and start to bleed and Theo would be carted off to the pound and killed within the hour because clearly, he is “vicious.”
People (especially careless parents) are so quick to blame a dog for its actions instead of looking at the facts. First, the boy was on our property and Theo knew it. Theo is our alpha male. He has been a part of my life for over 10 years. He would do anything to protect me.
Second, we are very responsible dog owners, which is why we placed the “Beware of Dog” signs on our fence. We actually bought them specifically for children. I was in hopes that parents were teaching their kids that if they see a sign that looks similar to stay away. I guess I was wrong.
Thirdly, you cannot know a dog’s story simply by looking at him or her. While Theo’s physical signs of abuse have healed, his memories remain fully intact. He makes the connection between children and harm. This was nothing that was taught to him. It is something that he, unfortunately, experienced first hand. Every dog has a story and they are not always pleasant.
Yet, dogs continue to get a bad reputation when the ones that are to blame are the children (and their thoughtless parents). Parents need to be held accountable for their children’s actions. I hate hearing “He’s only a child. He didn’t know any better.” And who’s fault would that be?
So, a dog should “sense” that the child is only “playing” when it pulls on his/her tail? What about when a child kicks a dog for “fun?” A dog can only react to a situation based upon his/her instincts and training. These defenseless creatures should not be expected to take abuse from anyone at any time.
I try to place myself in my dogs’ paws. If someone kicked me or poked me in the eye, I would nip at them, too! Would we, as humans, accept this treatment from others? Certainly not! We would be dialing 911 and requesting police assistance immediately.
Dogs do not have this luxury. If they are being abused, they have two options: 1. Take it 2. Fight back. I do not believe that either of these choices are fair. As dog parents, we are expected to account for every sniff and lick that our dogs make.
I think that this philosophy needs to be applied to the parents of human children, too. If your child disobeys the dog owner and gets bitten, the child is at fault. I never take my eyes off of my dogs whenever they are around other people. Not because I believe that they would instigate a situation, but because I know that other pet parents are not as vigilant and neither are their human counterparts.
As pet parents, we are our dogs’ only protection from the ignorance of others. I am pretty sure that in the above mentioned scenario, the child’s parents would sue and win. And a loving animal would be senselessly killed due to the stupidity of a few humans.
Remember to ALWAYS watch your pets, even in your own backyard. You never know when it could turn into a battlefield.