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The Laughing Mom: humorous tales of motherhood PDF Print E-mail
Written by Susan Pfaltzgraff   

Bitten by the dog

Sometimes my toddler daughter can be a little hard on our pets. A few months ago, Melise did a belly flop onto the dog’s back. She caught him off guard and he jumped up, causing her to roll off to one side. I gave her a good finger wagging and sent her in another direction.

Just minutes later, she had worked her way back into the dog’s vicinity. I saw her raise her arms up in preparation for the belly flop. I went running to stop her but wasn’t fast enough. Luckily, the dog saw it coming and moved, leaving Melise to flop onto the grass instead. I was relieved that she didn’t get the dog, but worried that she had hurt herself. Of all things, she got up and laughed!

Scenes like that pass too often between Melise and the dog. For the most part, the dog has appreciated his little companion. He likes her hugs and kisses. He even gives her a friendly tail wag every time he slips past her belly flop maneuver. But then, a dog can only take so much.

Not too long after the belly flopping incident, Melise was playing with our dog just arm’s reach away from me. I was talking to my husband and not paying close attention to them. Suddenly, I heard a yelp and turned to see the most confused expression on Melise’s face as the dog turned to bite her.

You can imagine there was a lot of screaming and confusion for a moment as we rushed to separate Melise from the dog. Melise didn’t even know enough to start crying until she was cradled in my shaking arms. Luckily, the dog had only given her a warning bite through her corduroy outfit, so a bruise was all she received.

I’m still not sure what happened. Melise and the dog had played together for close to a year without any incident. So who’s fault was it that things suddenly turned sour?

Was it the dog’s fault? He’s the one who did the biting after all. But up until now, he’s had tremendous patience with my little girl, so I have to believe that something in that moment made him feel threatened enough to want to protect himself.

So is it Melise’s fault? She doesn’t quite understand that some pokes, pulls, and even hugs can be unwelcome. She’s still quite innocent about how her actions affect others.

Although it’s a simple situation, it’s hard to decipher what went wrong and how to prevent it in the future. All I really know is that Melise finally did something that the dog couldn’t take. What did she do? I don’t know; I didn’t see. And yet, I’m the one who’s supposed to be responsible. I’m afraid the guiltiest party here is me.

That night, I had this horrible dream that my family went camping and was attacked by bears! Obviously, the idea of a dog attack was weighing heavily on my mind and my imagination blew it out of proportion.

Waking up the next morning, I was determined to be more vigilant when Melise and the dog were together. I was also determined to teach Melise better manners toward the pets. Those sound like reasonable goals, yes? Well, I can tell you that on that very same day Melise did another unsuccessful belly flop maneuver . . . and months later I still don’t know the answer to this dilemma, but Melise and the dog still play with no more incidents to report. Let’s hope that’s always the story!