Life Lessons from a Dog Bite

“A righteous man is cautious in friendship”

Proverbs 12:26

Summer is almost over for many including the PopTribe and it has certainly been an eventful one thus far, but not without important lessons in self-esteem and relationships.  These lessons although traumatic in nature, brought great understanding and respect for relationships with God, humans and animals.

Growing up my husband and I were always animal lovers and we’re more partial to dogs.  However, we wanted to wait until our youngest was at an age where we felt comfortable introducing him to four-legged siblings in the home.  We first added, Rue, a stray mix who is very gentle and obedient in nature and great with children.   Rue helped to break the fear of animals in our youngest Pops.  She was an unplanned rescue from the local pound, and possibly ending her precious and loving nature through euthanasia.  Prior to going on vacation, Rue, was immediately loved and trained by all the Pops.  She was the first PopPaw added to our tribe. During this time, we were in the process of adopting our first pick, made into our second addition, Parker, a Rottweiler from a reputable rescue organization.

While in the Florida Keys visiting family for an extended period of time, our 10 year old and 8 year old were swimming in the canal between the home we were staying in and their grandfather’s home.  A neighbor’s dog from across the street to the vacant neighbor’s home beside grandpa and was pacing between both properties.  At the sight of the dog, and witnessing their grandfather pet the dog, our children naturally got out of the water to do the same.  Tenacious Pops, our 10 year old, knelt in front of the dog, close to her face, and pet her head.  The dog in turn, bit my son in his upper lip and he was given nine stitches.  The dog owners did not have any vaccinations on the dog and the dog was said to have not been kid-friendly.

Life Lessons  We Learned

  • Lesson #1:  Take Responsibility and Forgive Immediately. 

When all was said and done, our son held no ill will against the owners or the animal. He was more concerned over the animal and not having her put down.  He apologized for not being more careful, and told the owners that had no ill will towards their dog.

  • Lesson #2:  Face your fears. Life must go on and with God we can overcome.

When we asked if he would fear us adopting  Parker, the rescue Rottie, he said; “No. It is understandable that I might be hesitant with dogs because of what happened, but I can’t let fear control me.  I need to face it so I can get over it and go on with life. I’m not going to let this ruin our vacation.”

  • Lesson #3:  Beauty is on the inside. Be secure in who you are.

When facing the public on our outings on vacation and thereafter, many gave looks of shock and horror to his lip/face area.  What was his response?  He went on with life as usual, greeted everyone with a smile, and continued making numerous friends.  The bite and scar do not define him.  He is defined and accepted by God alone.

  • Lesson #4:  Practice Caution in Friendship

Following this incident, the golden rule for strangers animals/pets became clear to all of our Pops, “Always ask the owner if it is safe to pet their dog/animal.”   We have shared with the Pops that just like human beings might feel threatened by having another person’s face in theirs; dogs/animals can feel that way too.  Always exercise caution in friendship with animals for their safety and yours.

“According to the 2011-2012 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, 62% of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to 72.9 millions homes; 46.3 million homes own dogs.” (APPA, 2012)  Our local news station, WCNC did a report and an article about dog bites that reinforces our understanding and awareness about pet and strange dog awareness.  (WCNC.com)

  • “If a dog is chasing you, don’t run.
  • When you have a dog that is running, stand still, act like a tree, pretend that dog is not even there, don’t move, don’t look at them, just wait for that dog to run away on its own.
  • When that doesn’t work, Conner said you need to get in the turtle position.
  • When you get knocked down to the ground and now suddenly you’re on the ground and that dog is still jumping on you then what you need to do is act like a turtle.  Go into a shell.
  • Dog lovers often don’t realize that you should never pet the top of a dogs head.  Instead, reach under the chin and never make eye contact with a strange or aggressive dog.
  • If an aggressive dog approaches you, you want to remain calm.  Slowly back away and give the dog no direct eye contact.  Any quick movements or direct eye contact is going to direct the dog to become more aggressive, so you just want to remain calm and back away.”

When we got home we added, Parker, our Rottweiler to the tribe.  He is a big dog and the Pop 5 and PopPaws have formed a beautiful relationship of mutual respect and understanding in human to animal relationships.  I share our story as a word of admonishment to all animal lovers and pet owners alike.  Take the time to be cautious in friendship, and develop a mutual respect and understanding of each other.

Finally, take away the positive from the trials in life and choose to overcome!

Your friend,

Laurie

References

Industry Statistics & Trends for Pet Ownership, America Pet Products Association, 2012.

http://www.americanpetproducts.org/press_industrytrends.asp

Boudin, Michelle.  Avoiding Attack:  Dog Bites All Too Frequent . 1 Aug. 2012.  News Channel 36,  Charlotte. http://www.wcnc.com/news/local/Avoiding-Attck-164607906.html

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About Laurie Popovich, Pops of Life

Hi! So, happy you stopped by. Stick around while I tell you a little bit about me and my journey. I’m a daughter to Spanish parents and a sister, too! That means I love family, hugs, to share my 2 cents, music, dancing, flavorful foods & coffee. I’m a wife, twice to the same man, in a thrice redeemed marriage. I love deeply because I know no other way and it has filled my life with hope. I’m a believer of the impossible. I’m a mom of 5 beautiful and full of life blessings; but was only supposed to have one. You see, I had cancer; given 6 months to live when our first and daughter was 2. They’re a product of the impossible. I’m a homeschool mom who didn’t think she could teach: first, at all then, at different levels, different styles. I teach in what in my mind was the impossible. I’ve walked through many trials; some that have taken my life in many aspects, including literally. I have overcome the impossible. I’m a spiritual sister and friend. I love to share and encourage others in life to live the impossible. I’m a daughter of the King; a powerful Creator and Redeemer of the impossible – me - and I can be impossible  I love to…love people…encourage others…being a student of life and the impossible …laugh at myself… journal my hopes & dreams & pray to make them a reality… journal my fears & seek to turn them into victories…eat chocolate…cook for many & watch them enjoy the food & fellowship…go against the grain because you never know what blessing is there waiting for you…flirt with my husband openly because I’m in love…squeeze our 5 blessings often because I’m grateful & amazed by them…say sorry often because I make mistakes, stress & well, I’m a mess at times…I run to clear my head…and…I run to God because He’s my source of strength, hope, and love. I’m not where I was and I’m not where I’m yet going to be; I’m under construction deeply desiring to enjoy the journey. I know you have a unique and exciting one too, and I can’t wait to learn and enjoy the journey with you! Grateful, Laurie
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