Puppies of the Humankind

This is all over the internet, but I still don’t think it’s talked about enough, so I decided to write about it. And I have been meaning to for a while but I guess the topic found it’s way into the depths of my subconscious until a little girl, with outstretched arms, and all the love in the world to offer, came charging toward Kahlua yesterday bellowing “Puppppyyyyyyyy”. Hmm.. familiar much ?

Kahlua believes, that the solution to all things scary is to hide behind Mom. This makes me one of the more fortunate fur parents. Do you have a dog that would react differently ? How do you deal with such situations?

Children maybe God’s gift to mankind, or God in disguise, or little angels or whatever..but the truth is they move unpredictably, at high speeds,  emit loud sounds and are often found zooming around on these loud, strangely shaped monsters with wheels. Heck, they scare me, why wouldn’t they scare a dog ?

If you are a parent (the non fur kind), I request you, please, teach your children to respect a dog’s space. I know some parents who do a wonderful job of this. Their kids come up to me and say “May I pet the puppy?” first. We take it from there and these kids never, ever, enter his personal space. They even understand that shelter puppies often have fears that we as humans cannot comprehend. I’ve met kids who time and again have tried to befriend my baby but they do it in baby steps. They accept when he chooses to hide under a table when he sees them. They even feel a little bad, but they still understand. They understand because either they have dogs of their own, or their parents explained  to them to approach with caution, if they must indeed approach and always ask the human first.

On the other hand, I’ve encountered kids who notice that their bike or the little scooter that they so confidently whizz by on, is scaring my pup, and they choose to come closer and at higher speeds, to gain some sort of silly thrill out of a poor creature’s fear. This is when I need to step in and request the child to please wait while we leave the scene and go the opposite way. Who is raising these kids like this ? And why ? (The problem in this situation, in my opinion, is bigger than ‘just’ thriving on the ‘pleasure’ of scaring an already scared puppy.)

My point is that an animal’s space needs to be respected as much as a human’s. Just because we are human does not mean we have some sort of natural right of way. Infact, we have the more complex emotions in place to actually ‘yield’ right of way to those more in need. Unfortunately, not many people actually think like this and then accidents happen. What would you do if I sat by you, for an hour, and kept jabbing you with a pencil. You’d go Hulk on me, correct ? What would you do if some unfamiliar person came charging at you screaming unintelligible words? That’s exactly how a dog feels when his/her personal space is invaded. Let’s break the notion that all dogs are natural nannies. We need to recognize that it is not true and children and dogs need to be introduced to each other in a positive environment. The dog needs to associate the child with happiness, and not fear. We respect that there are humans who are scared of dogs. Why can’t it be accepted that it can be the other way round too ?

I don’t mean to blame anyone or sound like some self righteous animal freak. These are things that I did not know before I adopted Kahlua. So I understand that some people and some kids don’t know that they are scaring the dog. And if they did, they would check their actions. Hence the post. I want to talk about this more. I want this to be spoken about more. I want to spread this message as far and as wide as I can. So please help me.. please use the share buttons below this post.. you might just be preventing yet another puppy of the human kind from being hurt, and a puppy of the puppy kind from suffering the consequences.

Image Credit: http://sassystickers.com/images/yin-yang-pawprint-handprint.jpg

8 thoughts on “Puppies of the Humankind

  1. Goodness, yes! Two examples of this spring to my mind immediately.My husband and I were walking the dogs very late at night one day (after midnight). A family parked their minivan, and the mom picked up her toddler from inside. She then looked me right in the face, set her toddler down, and leaned back into the car, letting go of her toddler. Naturally, her toddler screams "PUPPY! PUPPY!" and runs straight at my stranger-reactive dog. Diocese freaks out, and I'm struggling to hold a lunging, barking dog, with a toddler running at me. Thank goodness, Kevin was there. He grabbed the little boy and pulled him by the arm back over to his mother, who had the gall to look angry at US. Since we were the ones letting our baby run into the street after midnight, chasing after a strange dog. The other incident was similar to what you mentioned with kids who purposely scare Kahlua with bikes or scooters. These preteen boys would ride their 4-wheeler as close to the pasture as possible when I was riding my horse, trying (and succeeding!) to spook her. The worst though, was when they drove by and SHOT BB guns into the round pen where I was riding her. As you might imagine, she spooked very badly at that, and the little brats are lucky it took me so long to calm her down. I never did find them, which is probably a good thing.

  2. See this is exactly what upsets me – someone letting their kid run wild at midnight, and then giving dirty looks to the guy who rescued the child and brought her back to the mother. Even if Diocese weren't part of the equation, this was wrong!

  3. I just re-read your comment.. SHOT BB GUNS?? That is plain disgusting!! I am glad you were not injured.. a spooked horse is easy to fall off of!And why would you mess with a 1000lbs creature who can mess up up but chooses not to?

  4. Holy cow, Shalini! I love this post more than words can say. It can be hard to explain to people that you have a dog with needs which differ than the run-of-the-mill golden retriever that would allow kids to hang off of…Pepper is like Kahlua when it comes to adults, which is manageable, but with kids he’s a different dog altogether. He typically charges at them barking and depending on how they react he’ll jump at them as if he is going to nip (he’s never actually done it, but it always looks awful). When we would go to the dog park, Pepper would always have to be put back on his leash when stupid parents brought in their children (I say stupid because they fail to consider all the diseases they’re exposing their children to, let alone the inherent dangers with dogs). I always felt so bad for him – that was supposed to be his free time and instead he’d have to watch his sisters run around without him. Katelyn always wanted me to let him off so that way the parents might see the error in their judgement, but the sad truth is that should something ever happen – regardless of what those children/parents did, my baby would pay the penalty for simply being a dog. I can’t let that happen. I actually remember this one guy who brought in his toddler and let him run around the picnic table. I had someone hold onto pepper and I walked over to him and explained that my dog is afraid of children. I mentioned that even though he shouldn’t have his child in there (based upon the rules) that it would be fine if he had him sit on the table. I took Pepper across the park and watched the man start a conversation with his friend and let the child wander off. I immediately ran in between the child and Pepper and asked again for the man to watch his child because I don’t want him to get hurt. I reiterated that my dog is very afraid of kids. He just looked at me and said ” Oh don’t worry, I’m NOT going to let your dog hurt my kid.” I looked him right back and said “and I’m not going to let you hurt my dog.” I leashed Pepper and walked away. His kid got knocked over by a big dog and started crying less than five minutes later. Then they left. People just don’t seem to understand that it isn’t about kids vs. puppies and who is more important – it’s about coexisting so that everyone stays safe. Ugh sorry lol I could talk about this alllll day.

    • Sam, thanks for reading! You really should write a post about this too. Atleast I am lucky in a way that Kahlua will hide behind me and not charge at them. He might bark, but he will come back to his mother’s safe embrace.
      But parents really really need to understand their responsibility here. And do not ever let Pepper run at the kids in the hope that parents will soul search and find an error in their judgement. People who are smart enough that way, will anyway be conscious and think twice before letting their kids into a dog park and they will know there are age limits for the same. It’s always us fur parents who need to suffer the consequences. When a kid is bitten or even barked at for that matter, it’s as if the whole world goes into a blind rage and sees no reason. It angers me to no extent.

      The other day when we were at Sands Mashes, just as I was leaving, this kid with all his beach toys came running toward kahlua.. I turned into protective mom and stood between the two. I was just about to bark when the non fur mom herself yelled “Don’t go running at the puppy like that!” And the kid stopped.

      At the dog park too this lady brought a small kid in, and he was running around, being a gremlin, and kahlua barked. I called him and he came to me. So that was good. But the lady was like “Does he not like kids ??” I though to myself “No, that would be me my dear”, but anyway I just said “No, he is very scared of them”. I leashed and left. I’ve learned that I am MORE than happy to leash up and leave. I don’t want to put myself, or my dog in a situation that can go downhill for someone else’s lack of judgement or plain stupidity.

      I am very happy you told that ignorant man that you won’t let him hurt your dog. I would have been by your side backing you up too. Maybe we should do a workshop or something about this (just an idea) as one of our events ? We all feel very strongly about this.

      You know the strangest thing – i used to love kids. I’ve always had a kid in my family who has been younger who i’ve baby sat or loved! AND i’ve worked at daycare in India. I used to have immense patience with them. But ever since Kahlua, I just think differently. I compare every kid to him, and they fall short by millions!!

  5. Pingback: Mom says I’m a Road Warrior | The Lesser Canine

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