This article was originally posted a few years ago. Since it’s first posting one of the deaf dogs mentioned in the body of the article has passed. We dedicate this reposting to her. Her name was “Jill” and she was an amazing dog! R.I.P Jillykins, we all miss you!
Sometimes I feel as if everything I have done in animals rescue for the past twenty years was all for naught! I preach, I train, I rescue, I foster, I rehabilitate. I have been doing so for years, and still it gets worse! The state of animal welfare never seems to get any better. Some days I feel as if I am beating my head against a brick wall. It is those days that I go through my gallery of images, and look at all the dogs we have successfully rehomed over the years, to remind myself that even though it does not seem as if my life’s work has changed things, it has changed the lives of many dogs for the better.
My journey with dogs began when I was a young Mother. I began to foster dogs in order to teach my daughter compassion for animals. She will be 21 this September, and I have just semi-retired from active hands on rescue. She spent her life living with animals, and to this day can not walk past an injured animal of any kind without stopping to see if she can help it in any way. It is the attitude she was raised with, and I am proud to say I raised a child who understands the importance of kindness and loving care. What I wish is that more parents would see these life lessons as important.
These days children are not taught to value animals. They are taught animals are possessions, to be discarded when they have outlived their usefulness. Children are not taught to approach strange animals slowly and with respect, they are allowed to run right up and invade the space of strange dogs, and if they are bitten, parents blame the dog. Is it not this attitude that brought BSL to Ontario in the first place? The idea that the animal is responsible for its actions, and is the one who should be curbing his behavior is absolutely ludicrous! If you allow a child to torment an animal no good is going to come of it.
What I truly do not understand is how the average person seems to think that their child can approach and maul ANY dog without consequences. These same parents wouldn’t send their child into the lions den and expect them to come out unscathed, yet they will allow their child to approach a strange dog in a boisterous manner and then actually be surprised when the child’s actions result in a dog bite! Of course after their child is bitten, parents will never admit that their lack of control over their child is what caused the incident. They will blame the dog and say it “attacked” unprovoked.
Now I am here to tell you that NO dog attacks without a reason. The reason most people say that a dog attacked without warning is simple. The average person is incapable of reading a dogs body language correctly. They miss the warning signs that say “hey! if you don’t get this kid away from me I am going to bite it!” Therefore they do not correct the child and the child continues to annoy the dog, and finally the animal can take no more and strikes out in self defense.
I can not stress enough to parents, that teaching your children the correct way to approach an animal goes a long way towards preventing bite incidents. How or why they do not understand this on their own is somewhat beyond me, but proper animal interaction is to my way of thinking one of the most important lessons you can teach your children. Not only does it provide the tools by which to avoid bite incidents, but it also teaches our children compassion and caring.
Lastly, I want to touch on a subject that a friend of mine brought to mind while recounting an incident with one of her dogs. She has a pair of rare looking Great Danes, beautiful sweet natured dogs who love life. They are sweet, gentle, lovable, and deaf! Believe it or not when she walks these dogs she constantly has young Mother’s wanting to give their children a ride! These are DOGS not horses people! What’s more, they are not circus attractions! Just because you see a dog that looks sweet and good natured, does not mean you can allow your children to climb all over it like a jungle gym! Parents need to learn that the ONLY proper way to safely approach a strange animal is by asking the owners permission! Parents need to teach their children to do so.
Well I guess you have heard enough of my ranting for one morning. I will leave you with this thought; Take away your ability to communicate with spoken language, take away your opposable thumbs and fend for yourself, now lets put you in a room full of children who have been taught you are a toy, how do you think you’ll fare? See my point yet?
Until Next Time Remember
SENIOR RESCUES ROCK!