Monday, January 3, 2011

Being Okay With the Family Dog

Yesterday my mom came home with a newspaper article about a young girl that had her toes chewed off by the family dog while she slept.  My mom was understandably freaked out by it, but I was a little amused by her declaration that we should not let the dogs sleep in the kid's rooms anymore.  

Couple things you should know.  First, we have three rescues.  Snowflake, a golden lab came to us through our uncle who was moving and could not take her with. It was our first dog since my own chihuahua about ten years earlier-- given to me by the same uncle.  My little brother had just been attacked by a large dog and was having a hard time dealing with dogs, dogs barking etc. Snowflake was perfect for the kids and they loved and still love her.  

Here she is......

Three years ago this Christmas, I found out about Sandy, a golden lab mix, who lost her family in a divorce.  After meeting her, and introducing her to Snowflake, we decided to bring her home to the twins, who had been begging for a dog of their own for a couple years.  It took some time, but they love her and she is super protective and loyal to them.  

This is our Sandy girl.  She is the only one that kept her name. Snowflake was Sophie, but we had to change that because, heh, that's my name. Zorro didn't really have a name, but the people we collected him from sometimes referred to him as The Cochino, which means, Dirty Boy.

Then I got Zorro, a long haired chihuahua and the feistiest of the bunch. Zorro is admittedly, a pain in the butt. But, he is my pain in the butt and I love him.  He is also very loyal to me, and protective of both myself and Snowflake. Zorro is also the one who has the most behavioral issues and still gets aggressive with me.

Here he is. Zorro isn't even a foot tall and so cute that it almost wants to make you skip the discipline, but he shared a garage with a bunch of pitts so....he needs it. 

The other thing you need to know, and what I pointed out to my mother, was that in the case of the girl and the dog who ate her toes, the young girl (about 10) had Spina bifida and was unable to feel pain or injuries.  It is not known exactly why the dog ate some of her toes, but I do know that our own dogs try to help out whenever they see one of us is injured.  

I don't like it, and I do what I can to discourage them in order to keep their wounds clean, but whenever one of the kids is injured, you will see one of the dogs licking or trying to lick their wounds.  And Snowflake is always just licking Nick's toes-- whether he likes it or not.  

I'm not saying this is the case, but I can't help but wonder if the young girl has some sort of injury on her foot or toes that got the dog licking them in the first place.  It's scary to think about it happening to any child, and just about every dog owner I know who has had some dog/child related fluke happen has said over and over again before the incident that they trust their dog 100%.

I have never gone so far as to say that I trust any of our, or any, dogs 100% because they are animals.  However, I am okay with our family dogs, because even though they are animals, they have a very important and special place in our family.  I think being responsible for something other than themselves has taught all of the kids a lot.

I do think we need to work on getting the dogs to sleep in their own beds again though.  They all did at once, but right now Zorro is the only one that does so regularly.  I am not sure what happened, but at some point the kids started encouraging the dogs to sleep at the ends of their beds while also trying to get away with letting them up on the furniture.  Since there are more eyes in the living and family rooms though, they are less apt to try and get away with it-- both the kids and the dogs.  

I really do not know what else we can do to make sure that nothing freaky like this ever happens with the kids and the dogs, but we will do the best we can for now.  Any ideas?  Opinions? Experiences to share?

1 comment:

  1. All of our dogs were big dogs from a rescue and they kinda had the run of the house.
    Last year we got a puppy and we started doing kennel sleeping. He sleeps with my teen, but in his kennel. I was surprised how easy it was and he is used to it. Now we leave door open during the day and goes in when he needs some quiet time and come 10pm you can find him in there getting ready for sleep.I couldn't believe how attached he got to his kennel.

    I am your newest follower from FMBT.