I heard these cries as I was coming out of the supermarket the other day.
Hubby and Maggie were out of the car, and a young boy was dragging himself away from them, pulling hard on his Grandmother’s arm.
This is an all too familiar scenario today, a child afraid of a dog, but this was bordering on hysteria.
Maggie is docile, a soft touch, and the worse she could do is lick you to death.
However, to a child, or anyone with a fear of canines, she can be seen as a vicious threat, even though she lay subdued on the concrete wondering what on earth she’d done to cause such a ruckus.
The grandparents were apologetic, but we understood.
With the boy safely in the back of their car and Maggie in the back of ours, he wound down the window and asked me what her name was.
I told him and asked him how old he was.
He said he was 6, so I said that Maggie was older than him, as she was 10.
She stuck her head out of the window and licked my hand as I stroked her.
He wanted to know if we’d got her as a baby, so I said she was only 7 weeks old when we brought her home.
I took all this as a positive sign that he could overcome his fear, though know it will take time, especially after his grandmother explained that he had been bitten twice by the same dog, a staffy cross, which belonged to a neighbour.
The staffies I’ve come in contact with have been affectionate and even tempered, but not knowing what this one was crossed with, I can’t really comment.
The first time, the boy had been playing with the neighbour’s little girl and she’d pushed him. In so doing, he fell into the dog’s bed and the dog bit him on the ear drawing blood, thinking perhaps he was going to steal its toys.
The second time, he had knocked on the door to play and as the neighbour opened it, the dog flew out, and bit him on the back of the leg when he tried to run away.
According to the grandparents, the neighbour did nothing to try and control the animal, neither did they offer so much as an apology. The boy’s parents didn’t make a complaint either as they were friends.
Dogs and kids. A parent’s nightmare.
I like to think we are responsible owners, and would never leave Maggie alone with a child, no matter how much we trust her.
We have come across many parents with toddlers who have asked if their child can stroke her or say hello. Some have been a little nervous, most all grasping fingers, but we have always had her under control, encouraging the child not to make any sudden movements and to be gentle and so far, have had no incidents.
Maggie’s good with children, the elderly and the disabled, including those in wheelchairs, as we introduced her to all of these groups of people when she was a tiny pup.
We respect the need for space though, and will not force an issue.
All dogs are not vicious, but then again, not all dogs are like Maggie.
The worst thing you can have is a dog that bites children. I like that you took the time to talk calmly to the child, but I feel really sorry for him that he was allowed to be bitten twice.
I also come across the odd scared child, and since LM is not a good candidate for kids to maul, I sit her down a few metres away from them and raise her paw up and down to wave to the kid. This draws a smile and relaxes the kid.
And I think Maggie is an exceptional dog 🙂
Thank you, so do we. We are so pleased the way she’s turned out and we are so very proud of her.
Maggie, how discomforting to have a child be so afraid. We are glad you were such a good ambassador and helped the little boy learn not all dogs are to be feared ( but it is good to be cautious and ask for permission before approaching an unknown dog)
Bad owners, create dogs with bad behavior….and it’s always the dog who takes the blame and suffers.
Molly Malamute is a rescued dog who was brutally treated and abused until she chewed herself free from the wires wrapped around her. She looks like a stuffed animal, but we are very cautious with her as she is not a child’s dog and hates skateboards among other things. We are working with her and she has come a long way.
I really like the idea of paw waves from a distance.
How I admire you for working with Molly. Any trauma for a dog (or any animal though I am a dog person) is upsetting and it takes a special someone with love and patience to take such a dog on. I too think bad owners create bad dogs, and dogs need guidance and discipline, not cruelty and punishment should they misunderstand the message of training.
That poor little guy. It imagine it will take a lot to overcome being bitten twice.
For my oldest daughter, it was a cat. There was a cat in the neighborhood that all the kids petted, and it loved having its belly rubbed. But one day in summer, when it was extremely hot, my daughter (who was then a toddler) tried to rub the cat’s belly, and the cat bit her. I reported the incident to the cat’s owners to make sure the cat had all its shots, and the owners were very apologetic. All we could think was that the heat made the cat nasty. My daughter eventually got over her subsequent fear of cats, but it took awhile.
I sympathise, but am glad to hear she has overcome her fear.
I hope he gets over his fear. Its a real shame, dogs are so nice to have around.