Sunday, 8 February 2009

A Dog May Not Be For Life

But your child is.

Taking a look at the photograph of gorgeous little 3½ month old Jaden Mack released in the press recently reminds me so much of my eldest son Joshua at that age. Then to imagine having him taken from me at that age numbs me. But to lose a child that age to two dogs mauling him just leaves me heartbroken.

When will these people learn?

Why do adults leave dogs alone with babies? Why? Do they seriously think that because the dog is playful and well looked after that it won't turn? Is it really worth the risk?

I've been in debate recently about this with a dog lover telling me that dogs don't turn if they're well looked after. Well, it's nice to live in the bubble of blissful ignorance, until it happens to you. And what alarms me more, is this person has recently had her own child ... and thinks it's OK to leave a dog with a child.

Oh come on!!!

I've never been a dog owner. I don't like dogs, but I'm sensible enough to know that a dog has sensitive hearing and left alone in a room with a child crying to a shrill pitch is enough to distress it. I'm sensible enough to know that a toddler pulling a tail or poking eyes is going to risk being bitten. It doesn't take common sense for a person to know that when a dog has the taste of blood it riles up and wants more. In no way do I blame the dog for the incident, I blame the owner. Yes, maybe the dog is treated well, fed adequately and given plenty of exercise, but leaving it in a room with a child and expecting it not to be affected by the child's behaviour or manner is NOT treating it well. It's irresponsible and neglectful - both to the dog and to the child.

It's debatable enough whether the breeding of specific lines should be continued or encouraged. Even the RSPCA is now boycotting Crufts because of the inordinate amount of 'designer pugs' being produced that have become a handbag commodity, incapable of breathing correctly, walking with distorted hips and unable to eat due to teeth misalignment. The list is endless.

So, where is the attraction? Why does having a dog seem to muffle the senses of otherwise credibly logical adults? Why does having something that barks and wags its tail with a cute look in its eye cloud the ability of owners to think straight when children are around?

And, before you ask, yes I have considered buying a puppy, despite my fundamental dislike of the animals. My three year old son loves dogs. He has no fear of them and is respectful towards them. But that doesn't mean he won't have days where he is incapable of being nice to them and possibly become over boisterous. For that reason and for the fact my five year old daughter is terrified of them, has forced me to reconsider homing a dog.

It's not rocket science. You have children and pets, you supervise. If you can't supervise, you remove the pet from the child and if this inconveniences the pet in any way, then tough, get rid of it, or you might end up like Jaden Mack's grandmother and find your child in a room covered in blood with its throat ripped apart. And whilst I have every sympathy for her at discovering her grandchild in that state, I still think she needs to face the consequence of her neglect. Harsh? Maybe. But the neglect has left two parents grieving the loss of their only child.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Karen, i agree with you totally, i would not have even considered getting a dog when the children were babies and it wasn't until they nagged and nagged me that i gave in, but i knew that they were much older now and sensible enough now to know how to treat a dog.

I read the postings of the person in question and i think she is absolutely barking mad to think of getting a dog with a 3 month old baby and one on the way. This is being absolute wreckless beyond belief if you ask me, you absolutely cannot trust dogs and babies together and being a young mum as she is she will not be on the ball enough to deal with them. She may be lucky and be fine and nothing happen, but can you take that risk, i know i certainly couldn't.