Picture me pulling my kiddos down the sidewalk (Today they turn 1! Happy Birthday Jonathan! Happy Birthday Faith!). They are in their choo choo wagon, and I am pointing out various trees, shrubs and flowers to them, pretending that they not only understand me, but that they are also paying attention!
Suddenly, I hear a “woof!” And see a dog running toward us. I stop, turn toward the dog, step slightly in front of my wide-eyed kids and wait for the dog to approach us, which he does, thankfully with no apparent malice. The owner trails after him. She is a mother of two young children, and we have talked before. She tells me that they just got this dog, at a rescue. They already have one dog, who is on leash at all times, as he isn’t nice. But this dog (whom they have had all of a week) is gentle, kind and great with kids! I pet his head, admire his coat, and secretly hope that he will turn and walk away.
Instead, he sticks his big head into Jonathan’s face, and my heart skips a beat. My mother bear instincts tell me to remain calm, but to tear the dog into small pieces should he twitch a whisker at my offspring. The owner lightly laughs and eventually the dog wanders away, much to my relief.
We make our escape, me thanking God that our encounter went well. The last time a dog stuck his face near my son’s, it was a puppy, and my son BIT him. Thankfully, Jonathan did not bite the big dog…I just don’t even want to think about what could have happened.
Anyway, to get to my question…how do you handle situations that arrise in which your children could be in danger? Had it only been one child, I easily could have swooped him/her up into my arms, and felt good about that option. But when there are two or more to protect…how do you handle it?
Also, as a former dog owner, I am clueless as to how to tell people to please keep their dogs away from my children. Clueless, because it never occurred to me to allow my dog near small children, especially while off-leash. As much as we love our pets, they are still animals. And animals are unpredictable, and can do damage, especially to small children. (Please note that I am not referring to your children and family pet interacting. Rather, how do you address strangers and their pets? As you can see in this picture, our cat gets very close to the kiddos!)
Any thoughts out there?