Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Animal, Boy, Dog

Today I was out pounding the pavement with a few clients, equipment in hand along with my adorable little Boston Terrier Louie, and his best friend Katie. Katie, who belongs to Bree, is never on a leash, because she is perfectly well-trained and never strays from her master’s side. At least not that I have ever seen.

We crossed paths with a mother, her 4-year-old son and a young dog that was not so well-trained. Frankly, the mother appeared to be the one in need of training. Katie wandered over to the young dog for a quick sniff and a hello, as most dogs do. The dog became excited over the prospect of a few sniffs from Katie, and in a matter of seconds the little boy became tangled in the leash and proceeds to trip on the leash and fall. No big deal, kids tumble on sidewalks all day long. The mother freaked out and started yelling at if it were her fault the boy stumbled. She was enraged that Katie was not on a leash. This, by the way, had nothing to do with the kid’s tumble? In response to her stress, the mother smacks the dog in the face, not once, but three times. The dog was just an innocent bystander. He did nothing wrong. The kid was screaming, not from injury—he wanted his mother’s attention. She was on her cell phone.

I was appalled by the mother’s behavior. We all were. My instinct to protect helpless animals and children overcame me. I told the woman that if she continued to hit her young dog, he could eventually become skittish and aggressive, resulting in possible injury to someone. This is the nature of dogs. I have raised and trained more than my share of dogs. She became irate over my reprimand, as one might imagine. She continued to hit the dog and I wanted to rip her throat out. The boy was hysterical. The mother was completely out of control. I was not finished with her. I agreed with her that Katie needed to be on a leash, regardless of her impeccable manners. But, the mom desperately needed not only proper dog training skills, but stress management skills as well. Once again, I reminded her that if she continued to hit the dog he would eventually bite someone, maybe her son, and it would be her fault. She stormed off with her kid, the dog and anger in tow, yelling and contorting all the way.

So, the mom is out walking her dog and kid along a busy street while talking on her cell phone. Unaware of her surroundings, and simply NOT paying attention to her child or animal. Shit happens when we don’t pay attention, especially while talking on cell phones. The only one deserving of a smack on the face, or three, was the mother!