Inhale. Exhale. Count backwards from 100. Inhale. Exhale…..
Parents, please, please PLEASE teach your children to respect animals. Even if you personally do not own any pets, even if you don’t like animals yourself, please stress to them the importance of not teasing, taunting and abusing any living thing. Especially large, muscular dogs that are only separated from your child by a 5′ fence and the trained mentality to not scale said fence in a bunny hop.
This evening I found myself completely going off on someone’s child in the middle of the street in front of my house. I am not proud that I lost my cool but I am also aware that it was better than the possible outcome if I didn’t. Again let me stress, I am not proud of this but I’m putting this out there to the world because I think we all have these moments we aren’t proud of but that are nonetheless very very real & need to be talked about too.
An hour prior to this incident I stood in my driveway and watched as this child (who could not see me), pushed through the hedging along my fence to press himself up against it with his scooter in his hand, swinging it against the gate. Do I need to remind anyone what kinds of dogs I have?
He then pressed his little tiny, easily to crunch up HAND against my WIRE, FARM STYLE fence and began making high pitched noises to even further antagonize my now frenzied dogs!
I take an immense amount of care in ensuring all of my animals are raised being handled by my kids from birth; my children feed them and give them controlled stress stimulation constantly (i.e. playing dress up, painting nails, reading stories, building LEGO cities on sleeping dogs bellies…you get the idea).
My kids are involved in their training, medical care and even the birth of new puppies. I want to stress this, my dogs are CONSTANTLY around children every single day.
I also understand than without meaning to, some children can put themselves in harms way with animals.
When I stepped forward and this child and all the others with him saw me, they found a reason to move their play session down the road and (saying nothing), I brought one of the 3 dogs inside for her to calm down.
An hour later I hear my (now 2) dogs in the front yard snapping and barking at each other and I run outside only to see the same child now on the far end of my front yard with one hand again pressed to the fence and the scooter swinging & hitting against the fence from the other.
As any multiple dog owner who has ever had their neighbour mow their lawn will probably be able to tell you, when these dogs can’t get to what they are being agitated by, they will at some point go for each other. A pissed off dog redirecting aggression from external negative stimulus onto their doggie best bud whose face they were just licking, can happen in a nanosecond and it’s scary.
I called out, both to the dogs so they would stop bickering before it escalated & I called out to him so I could speak to him & explain what he was doing & why it was dangerous for him and for the dogs.
Next thing I know he’s on his scooter and heading down the street away from me laughing and I’m heated because I KNOW he’s just going to keep doing this thinking it’s funny until something happens and no one is laughing anymore.
So I opened the gate, strode down the street in my house-dress and called him back to me. He was the only kid in the group I didn’t know and they are all friends with my son so I also know he will be hearing about this at school tomorrow (sorry kid, this is what Moms do) . As he is walking towards me and he’s about half way, he starts kicking his feet and spinning the scooter around, feigning indifference and annoyance at being called out by me…I feel myself channeling the epic cussings that my own Mother was known for (Arlene never ramp with ANYONE) & even as I’m trying to reign it in, I know it’s a lost cause. I try anyway and exhibiting massive restraint I grit my teeth and tell him to stop that and come to where I can speak to him and not shout at him (spoiler alert – that didn’t work either).
Five feet away from me he kicks and spins the scooter again and this time he rolls.his.eyes. Ladies…Moms…please tell me that I’m not the only one who just flips that crazy switch when kids do this? Yes I grabbed the scooter from him and yes I threw it down on the grass and I looked at him and through my now fully seized up jaw, I told him to stop playing and look me in the eye while I spoke to him. Again I’m not proud but dear Lord I will own my chewing that kid out before I ever say that I did nothing and someones child got bitten by one of my dogs.
Somewhere in my half shouting and half heated ‘mom who’s had enough’ voice, I told him that what he was doing to the dogs would make it very likely that they WOULD try to go after him and/or his scooter if they got the chance. I told him that even if I was home, if they got to him he would be very badly hurt before I could stop them. I explained to him that if I wasn’t home and something happened then there wouldn’t be anyone who could help him because my dogs are bigger and much stronger than him and all of his friends combined.
Was I being dramatic? Maybe. But so what? My dogs have never intentionally hurt my kids or any others. That being said, both my kids have gotten scratched up from running and playing with the dogs and being jumped on and knocked over. But that’s my point you see…even if a dog was going after that scooter and not him, he would still be very badly hurt. So yes I shouted at him and yes I know I scared him & I’m sorry that I did that…but not as sorry as I would be if I didn’t and something happened.
So this is my Mom confessional; I lost my cool on someone’s child and I’m probably going to feel kinda shitty about that for the rest of the night but I know that he won’t do that to my dogs again and probably not to anyone else’s dogs either so I think I will cope with my actions in the long term.
I apologized to the kids Mom & the next time I see him I will apologize to him too. Adults, parents & yes even us Moms, we’re human and our emotions can get the better of us sometimes, I need to remind myself of that from time to time & I’m sure more than a few of you could say the same.
To all the other Moms & Dads out there please take my unfortunate outburst and use it as an opportunity to talk to your kids abut respecting all life and specifically about the dangers of teasing dogs, even your own pets will snap when they’ve had enough and the majority of children who are bitten are either by their own dogs or dogs owned by family members.
It only takes a fraction of a second for a situation like this to turn into a parents worse nightmare and talking to our kids about these things after the fact is simply far too late.
Now I think I’m going to eat a big ol’ slice of humble pie and go explain to my son why all of his friends are going to give him hell about his crazy Mom tomorrow