Dogs and kids don’t always mix

I held my breath as my dog Annie sniffed at the little boy. Perhaps she thought he was an odd-shaped dog. After all, she knows even less about children than I do. But this little guy was barely old enough to walk, and my 80-pound pup was getting awfully interested in his diapered bottom. Any second, she’d jump on him and scratch or nip his pure white skin, and we’d be in big trouble.

The boy’s mom had let her three kids, ages about 1 1/2, 3, and 6, run free in the fenced dog park, a rectangle of bark chips, poop and shredded tennis balls. The boy’s older sisters played on the dog agility apparatus. Their own dog, a skinny brindled bulldog mix, sped around the park, touching noses now and then with Annie and a massive long-haired dolt of a dog determined to hump everything in sight. (His embarrassed owners would soon haul him away.) Meanwhile, the little boy staggered around in the middle of the park.

I grabbed Annie just before she got too friendly. The mom shouted out something like, “Hey, Winston(!), not all dogs like little boys.” To which he did not react. To him, a doggie was a doggie.

Mixing kids with other people’s dogs is risky. Dogs, as much as we love them, are animals. They communicate with their mouths and their paws. In a flash, they can bite or accidentally scratch someone. Poor Annie hasn’t been around children since I adopted her at seven weeks old. She knows nothing about them, does not understand you can’t sniff, paw or roll around with them the way you can with dogs.

Annie is a childless female like me. Spayed at six months, she occasionally displays romantic feelings, but she doesn’t know anything about puppies or baby humans.

Annie didn’t hurt the little boy, but things got out of hand when the mom passed out cookies and opened a Styrofoam box of French fries. Food! Annie tried to grab the cookie out of the little boy’s hand. I pulled her back. The bulldog dashed over to defend her family–or get some of the food–and a fight ensued. I dragged my snarling dog out by the collar.

I don’t hate kids or mothers, but the dog park is for mothers of dogs, not mothers of people. It’s one place where we can all be equal as dog owners. As my late husband used to say, “Grumble.”

Nobody’s Mother or dog’s mother?

I just read about a relatively new book called “Nobody’s Mother: Life Without Kids” by Lynne Van Luven. Teena from Toronto featured it on her blog called “It’s All About Me!” Well, there’s a good blog title. But I wonder if it also relates to people who are childless by choice. It’s all about meeeee, not about some rugrat who’s going to take all my time, attention and money. Never mind. I’m biased. But the book does sound interesting. Although I don’t think it has too much about being childless by marriage, I’m ordering it and will report on it when I’ve read it.
Teena from Toronto says she and her husband Gord consider their dog and two cats their “kids.” I can’t tell you how many childless women have told me they’re gaga over their pets. Does this say they really wanted children but preferred the kind you could lock in the back yard when you wanted to go somewhere or didn’t want them around?
I don’t think that’s true for me. I wanted a dog because I adore dogs. Sadie is not a child substitute. If I had 15 kids, I’d still want dogs.
As I think I reported earlier, my dog Sadie has cancer. She’s doing pretty well right now, but the doctor has decided more chemo would be too hard on her, so we have a couple months with her at best. Very sad, but we try not to ruin the time we have by thinking too far ahead.