But right now, I want to blog about the pure joy that children get from dogs. It struck me when I was out walking Lily this morning. We have several routes that we take depending the day, the temperature, and how much time we have to spend out and about. This morning, we headed toward the elementary school in the neighborhood. Along the way, we had a mom approaching with her toddler in a stroller. As always, I got Lily off to the side in a sit stay. When the little boy caught sight of Lily, he immediately started to bounce in his stroller and his grin was ear to ear. They stopped so that he could look at the 'bow-ow'. The genuine joy on his face just melted my heart. This little guy has seen her before and every time the reaction is the same. He's fascinated by her - and he just loves the sight of her. He can be in full blown tantrum mode when we walk by and the tears will stop, his face is alert, and a smile breaks through. Very cute.
Our next stop was the elementary school. The kids were at recess and some of them rushed to the fence, calling her name. They're not allowed to pet her (or any dog) through the fence (I've hit this one home and it's been nice to watch them NOT reach fingers through even when it's someone else's dog). But they love watching her do tricks. They raise their hands and each get to choose a trick. It's cute when one will say "Dance!" and another child will say "Awww, I was going to say that!" Lily is comfortable in her performing role. We spend about five to ten minutes doing tricks for the kids. Lily gets a standing ovation at the end. These boys and girls are always willing to give up their recess to watch her. Last week, I had a little girl tell me that she was having "the worst day ever" but that Lily had brightened her day.
When we go into classrooms, we see the joy that the kids get from their dogs. They always want to tell us all about their family pet. It saddens me when we have to speak someone who wants to give up their dog because of a new family member, because it's "too much" to have a dog and a baby. Whether their dogs live inside the house as members of the family or in the backyard, children genuinely care for their pets. To think that a child is going to miss out on that special bond, that unconditional love, pushes us to try to find a way to make it work - for the dog and for the family.
Lily and I ended our walk by passing the toddler and his mother one last time. He waved "hi" as soon as he saw us. His toothy grin and high pitched squeal said it all. That pure joy at the sight of this dog.
Does your child enjoy your dog? Do they love seeing dogs when you are out and about?
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