Saturday, September 20, 2014

Dogs have feelings too

2/3/2014

I would like to share a story with everyone.

When my daughter was just a tot, she was bitten by a black lab. Yes, a black lab — one of the most well-known dogs for being protective and caring. The bite was pretty bad, resulting in 17 staples and seven stitches across the top of her head and right next to her ear. He was taken to the shelter by the owner’s brother. He was observed by their doctors and went through multiple stress tests. He showed no signs of an aggressive dog. After a couple court appearances, the dog was put on probation for the next year. Basically, if he attacked another person or animal, he would be euthanized.

I would like to share a story with everyone.

When my daughter was just a tot, she was bitten by a black lab. Yes, a black lab — one of the most well-known dogs for being protective and caring. The bite was pretty bad, resulting in 17 staples and seven stitches across the top of her head and right next to her ear. He was taken to the shelter by the owner’s brother. He was observed by their doctors and went through multiple stress tests. He showed no signs of an aggressive dog. After a couple court appearances, the dog was put on probation for the next year. Basically, if he attacked another person or animal, he would be euthanized.

A year and a half passed, and he did not have any incidents. Until one night. A few kids were walking their pug down the alley at about 10 p.m. The black lab jumped the fence and attacked the pug. The kids went running home. The pug ... well, he did not make it.

First off, I am not trying to justify this attack in any means. These kids, along with other kids in the neighborhood, taunted the dogs in this yard. They would throw sticks and rocks at them from the other side of the fence. They would even yell things at them and bark at them. They taunted the dogs. Bullied them. Like I said, in no means am I saying that they deserved what happened to their dog. I thank God every day that it was a dog that this black lab got and not one of those kids.

I think one thing people need to realize is that dogs have feelings too. We teach our children not to bully other kids. Why not teach them to practice the same thing on animals? You never know if an animal is aggressive just by looking at them. Same with people, you cannot judge someone by how they look on the outside.

I have seen people at the park with their dogs just running around with them. Kids will just walk up without knowing anything about that dog. We need to teach our children — adults too — how to approach an animal and how to act around them. If a dog is stressed, you need to know how to behave in this situation. Still to this day, I believe the reason that black lab attacked my daughter was not because he was aggressive. He had been depressed. His owner would come and go. He was used to being with him every day and then all the sudden he only saw him a few times a month. I should have taken precautions with him, but I see now that he was showing signs of being depressed, just like any human.

With all of the debate going on right now about lifting this “bully breed” ban and putting in a new, updated ban, I felt I needed to share my thoughts. I am all for the lift. It is not fair to an animal to judge them by their looks or something that this particular animal cannot control.

Words spoken by Martin Luther King Jr.: “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

 

— Elizabeth Gillaspie,

Ottawa

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