Thursday, July 12, 2007

Dawg Love

Stella really loves dogs. In fact, I think her little toddler brain is dominated by thoughts of dogs (even above Elmo!). We don't own a dog, but that didn't stop "dawg" from being her first word. Whenever we hear a dog barking outside, she gets a look of surprise on her face - a little 'o' mouth, and then gleefully nods with knowing, "dawg". Out on the street, she shrieks with excitement whenever she spots a canine, pointing and flapping, drawn off her path. Thankfully, our neighborhood gives her ample opportunity to meet dogs of varying size and color, and we have often gone on walks for the sole purpose of dog spotting.

Yesterday, after finishing a light shop at the coop, we paused outside of the front door to admire a dog who looked like a mutt version of Lassie. His owner was seated beside him on a bench, leash in hand, and smiled welcoming at Stella. Both my husband and I have done our best to teach Stella how to be gentle when she pets and not to hit or tug. We always try to calm down her explosive energy when she sees other animals, and to be slow in approaching them. She did all of this perfectly when she saw the dog, smiling and waving as she stood in front of him, a safe distance away. Frankly, she was being adorable, and all of the passersby were ahhing, 'how cute'. She then stepped up closer to the dog, squatted down and planted a big mwaaah kiss on his snout. Exactly as her lips smacked, I saw the glint in the dog's eye change.
He charged at my baby. The dog snapped at Stella's face, pushing her away. She flew backward, slamming her head on the concrete sidewalk. The owner was completely shocked and immediately yanked his dog's leash with worry. I ran to Stella who was flat on her back, screaming. She had a very faint welt on her cheek, where the dogs tooth had grazed her, but not cut through the skin. AS I lifted her into my arms and tried to comfort her and ease her fear, I was also telling the dog's owner that she was alright, and not to worry. Logically, how could I be mad at the dog? He had acted as any animal would act when their territory felt threatened, BUT what would I have done if she had been seriously injured? I remember hearing about a toddler in Manhattan who had her face bitten off by a dog, and thinking that I could not imagine a more horrendous thing. If an animal had maimed my child like that, I don't know if I could control my rage. I'd want that dog dead, and yet it wouldn't solve anything.

With barely a scratch, we were able to walk away from the incident, shaken up, but undamaged. At least, that is what I hoped. I knew it was inevitable that Stella would have to learn more caution, and that not all animals are nice. I was just hoping that her great love would not have to be questioned so soon.


Blogger Swankyloma said...

Wow, that's scary. I hope it didn't traumatize her... When I was 21 I was attacked by a dalmation and it bit right through my breast. It was a really frightening experience. Thankfully, I was old enough to know that not all dogs attack, therefore I didn't develop a fear of all dogs. I hope Stella maintains her love for "dawgs" in spite of this encounter.

6:36 PM  
Blogger Reino said...

OMG, I have been bit twice in my life and both by dalmations! Once on Ellenbogen, right behind Mt. Gleason. I was about 4 yrs. old and was petting the family's dog (boy scout meeting) and it jumped up and bit my nose. That terrified me and sent me to the ER for stitches. Then when I was 21 I was in a flower/doo dad shop in La Crescenta with Saundra (Michelle)and she was Vday shopping for her Bfriend and I sat on the floor to pet the owner's dog. It liked it, then after about 10 minutes bit my wrist! Another dalmation. Cute dogs, but I don't trust them!

Hey Sarah, I have min pin pups right now ;) Six weeks old, perfect for a brownstone. LOL

5:39 PM  

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