On the weekend we had a family get together and it included a nearly four year old and a very well mannered dog. Miss Nearly Four has lived with a dog her whole life and she has always enjoyed playing with our dog when we had one and the visiting dog, which she knows very well - until now.
So why is there this sudden change? Because when she and her mother were on the footpath going to the local park with their elderly, arthritic and leashed Border Collie, three rottweilers came out of an unfenced property and attacked the dog. While her mother managed to rescue the dog before any real harm was done - she lifted him bodily over the nearest fence - and the dogs were driven off by her and a neighbour who heard the commotion and came out to help, she was left with a terrified little girl.
The owner had come out by then and called off her dogs but didn't get that she had any responsibility for their behaviour. According to her they were well behaved show dogs and they were entitled to be on her property - which quite obviously they weren't when they attacked. After a lengthy and heated discussion with the neighbour and mother lasting 40 minutes and involving a threat to call the Council ranger the owner agreed to put up fencing which she has done.
While this is all well and good it hasn't done anything to help a little girl who is now traumatised to the point that when our visiting dog gave a short play bark she panicked and insisted on being carried. While we spent a lot of time trying to get her accustomed to being with the dog, we shouldn't have to. This was a perfectly well adjusted little girl who loved dogs and loved playing with them and now, due to the irresponsibility of this woman, is terrified of even a gentle and friendly dog she has known since it was a puppy.
How dare this woman put this child - or any other for that matter - in a situation where she could have been injured as could her mother and their dog. I love dogs - I've lived with them all my life - and, since my old dog died earlier this year, I am looking for another. When I get one I will be making sure it is well mannered and socialised but I'll also have to ensure that this child is not traumatised again or triggered by normal play. Why should she have to go through this distress due to one person's selfish disregard of basic dog training.
So I may be ranting but I think I have good cause. Don't you?