Monday, April 23, 2012

Keeping Dogs Safe

One of our most popular presentations is our Dog Safety.  We spend a lot of our time teaching kids how to be safe around dogs - their own as well as others.

We don't spend much time discussing with parents how to keep the dog safe around the children.  Last week, my family had a sad reminder of why that is so very important.

When we stress never leaving children alone with the dog, regardless of size, it is mostly for their own protection.  Children pull, poke, prod.  Children can trip.  Dogs these days are expected, and unfairly so, to take whatever kids do to them without any retaliation at all.  Those of us "in the know" (trainers, educators, rescuers, dog owners with common sense) realize how unrealistic this is.  We focus on keeping the interactions pleasant for both to keep both safe.  In reality, most dogs that bite don't stay in the family.  And most of those dogs gave plenty of warning before it even got to that point.  When we talk about keeping the child safe, we are including the dog in that equation.  Dog doesn't bite, dog stays in home - it's simple really.

But we need to realize that things can happen to dogs beyond our control.  Children are children and things happen.  If you have a small dog, bad things can happen.  In the blink of an eye, an entire world can be turned upside.  Even with supervision, a dog as small as a dachshund stands little chance if tripped over and fallen on. 

My niece had to say goodbye to her beloved little doxie last week.  We don't know what happened and we never will.  All that is known - my five year old nephew was unsupervised with the dog in the backyard.  Boys will boys.  Five year olds love to rough house.  It is suspected that he was either rough housing with the dog and he rolled over onto her or he simply fell onto her.  He has no idea what he did.  All he knows is that she suddenly got "sick".  She couldn't walk and her cries were heartbreaking.  Her back was broken and there was nothing that could be done to repair it.  She was far too young to die and it happened so fast. 

In a matter of seconds, things changed drastically.  My niece is left to grieve her sweet little Mona Lisa. 

So when we lecture, forgive us.  We don't just want to keep your child safe.  We want to keep your dog safe too.  From little hands and little feet that move so swiftly and can break little bones.  As parents, it's our job to keep our kids safe.  As dog owners, it's our job to keep our dogs safe.  It's all part of the responsibility.  This tragic event has served up a painful reminder.

No comments:

Post a Comment