Pets… part of the family?

There is a heart breaking story in the news today, about a woman who was randomly attacked and killed by her own two dogs. I cannot imagine the pain, trauma and panic she must have gone through during that moment. Family and friends have all commented on how loving the dogs were, that they weren’t aggressive or out of control. It was totally out of character. Usually, someone pipes up in these circumstances to say there was an issue somewhere, but not this time. These were humble dogs. There was a comment that stuck with me though… “I have never known those dogs to be violent. My kids have slept on those dogs and used them as pillows.” This is a pet peeve of mine. Why would you let your child use a dog as a pillow?

People will have their own opinions on this, and this is just my opinion.

My daughter is almost two years old. She sees dogs out and about but I would never let her touch one. If one is off a lead, I am weary and keep my eye on where it is so I can pick her up if necessary. If one was to lick her face or hand, I wouldn’t let her do anything until I’ve washed the area. (They lick their arses, and one of my childhood dogs would eat other dog’s poo, think about that for a moment).

My mother in law has some of the most obedient dogs I have ever met, but even she would never think of letting them loose around her granddaughter. And that isn’t just because it would be my wishes, it is common sense. They’re big dogs, they’re clumsy, they drool, they play fight. Do I want her in the middle of that?

Dogs are unpredictable. Whether they’re the most loving dogs or biggest softies, they are not human. As much as they understand ‘sit’ or ‘lie down’, they don’t understand ‘this is a baby, don’t lick it or bite it when it pulls on your ears for the hundredth time’.

A neighbour of mine has a Japanese Akita type dog. They had it from a puppy and it walks right past my house every day. It is always on a lead, but the owner is not a huge man, and I believe the dog could overpower him if it wanted to. It terrifies me if my daughter is out walking with me when they go past. I might be paranoid, accuse me of that if you want, but a dog that size could cause some serious harm, and I don’t know what that dog is like with other people. You don’t buy those dogs because they’re cute and cuddly, do you?

Growing up, I had two Westies. Bonnie and Meg. (Meg was the poo eater). We got Bonnie first, when I was six. She was such a beautiful puppy. A lady of luxury who slept in front of the fire, granddaughter-dog to the 1990 Crufts winner, an absolutely lovely dog. If she ever thought she was being told off, she would put her tail between her legs and take herself to bed. Funny thing is, she was never told off. She was too much of a good dog. Would I have let my 2yo daughter anywhere near her? Hell no! As much as she was a lovely, friendly, happy dog: she was a dog. When she was eating, and her head was in her food bowl, if you got too near to her she would let out an awful growl. A warning sound. Why? Because she was a dog! Even when I was six, I knew not to wind her up. But does a two year old?

I get that we have family pets, and they are part of the family. Our dogs always were, and my seven year old cat is part of my family now (although she can be a miserable sod, she’s more like the elderly Granddad who hates having company, and just sits and scowls at everyone until they leave).

Cleo b+w

Let’s talk about my cat for a moment. (Isn’t she pretty?) I became her momma when I adopted her at 7.5 weeks old. She attached herself to me and honestly, she does prefer me. Its very rare that she will sit on anyone else if I am in the room. So, to me, she is a lovely, loving cat. She can do no wrong. Do I like leaving my daughter alone with her? Not at all! At the moment, she can sit out of reach of my daughter. But I have witnessed many times her hissing and growling at other people’s kids who have come to visit. (To be fair, they were warned to stay away from her ((I always put her upstairs out of the way)), but kids are kids and don’t understand why, and panic ensued… bad kitty). But with her being a cat, all will happen if my daughter pulls a whisker is she’ll get a nasty swipe or, at worse, a bite. If that was a dog? I dread to think. (BTW, I am not saying getting bitten by a cat is nothing, it would be bad, but I’ve never read about a domestic cat attacking a human being and not being able to stop itself).

There might be one dog in every hundred that would never do anything to a child. That has the perfect temperament to being poked and prodded and teased. And this is not a breed issue. It is a species issue. Don’t forget, even the Queen’s corgis weren’t the best behaved dogs…

As for the awful story in the news, I believe that they were loving animals. I believe it was out of character. Something happened to spook the dogs and they couldn’t stop themselves and so that awful tragedy occurred. My thoughts go out to her boyfriend and family, and to the friends and neighbours who tried their hardest to help her.


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