There is sometimes such a stigma surrounding children and dogs – more so rescue dogs. Statements like; you don’t know if the children will be safe or they might suddenly attack because you dont know where they’ve come or been through, pop up all over the place from people and to some extent I agree. I would never dream or consider leaving any dog alone with a young child and most certainly not a new dog that has just come into the family – like say a rescue dog.
It is vitally important to safe guard children against such risk but it is also vitally important to safe guard your dog too. Being a mummy to three dogs – two which are rescues I take this responsibility very seriously. Personally I don’t treat the dogs – rescue or not any differently. I don’t leave any of them truely alone with the children, I don’t necessarily over police either. Indeed I let them socialize – usually with me sitting by or on the floor. I do discourage the children approaching the dogs, especially Rosie (just because she’s elderly) and prefer to teach the children to wait until the dogs approach them.
This way it is the dogs that are seeking the attention; cuddles or fuss, rather than it being thrust upon them. It’s mutual. I find this a more pleasurable experience for the children and the dogs. Plus as a bonus everyone feels safe, so no stressed, worried dogs and I was absolutely delighted this week when Willie saught out my youngest nephew (one year old, moving, crawling monster) for some cuddles. Willie normally avoids the youngest member of the family – preferring the older children. So this was progress.
Willie was obviously very nervous but happy to sit on the floor (next to me) and let the little monster baby cuddle him and maul him with kisses. So we showered Willie with praise and treats as he sat patiently and when he had had enough Willie pottered on back to the couch for a snooze. It was a very proud momma moment. This little boy, found on the streets, tramatized and abused, unable to trust when he came to us – was seeking out more love AND trusting us to help him.
And it is clear to see these little dogs are going to be a big part of the children’s lives- as they grow up together and build forever memories.