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Nov 18

Canis Canem Edit

Posted on Tuesday, November 18, 2014 in Family, munchies


is how this post might start off, but not being a fan of sensationalism, I shall lead you into the story gently:


I have a very select attire when dropping the kids off to school… or even being in public generally. I’m not a pyjama wearer, merely a grade above that. Converse runners, tracksuit bottoms or jeans if I REALLY want to impress a crowd. Hoodies, floppy tee-shirts. I never brush my hair in the morning, I don’t own a vanity station and most of my makeup products have gone-off.

Back straight, head up, shoulders back (hood up) is the way I would normally present myself in front of other parents at the school. I get my usual ‘See ya later Mom!’ from the elder, and a leg-hug and hip-kiss from the younger who has only just begun in Junior Elephants and then they’re gone. Other ‘Moms’ in their jogging attire go off to jog and invite me along in a well-meaning sort of way, but I usually go back home to bed because sleep is a right, not a privilege.

The odd time, I’ll become engaged in ‘Mom’ conversation but other ‘Moms’ know by now that I don’t do weather speeches, or talk about husband’s cars or golf lessons… I like talking about designing posters for upcoming fundraisers, logistics of marketing same, or maybe Yoga and how to breathe through your day when you’ve had sod-all sleep the night before. These are rare occasions. Fake smiles and nods are what I’m used to, before we all crumble back into our tarmacadam’d lives.

If I could post my children to and from school, I would.


This morning was different. I was chatting to aforementioned Yoga-person when I noted that most usual ‘Moms’ were acknowledging me more than usual, and unusually less towards my Yoga friend. She was getting very dirty looks indeed… in fact, she was hanging on to me for longer than she usually would. Instinct told me to keep quiet, wait for the lull, wait for the moment of confession for there are usually scandalous confessions in times like these.

There were tears in her eyes before she’d even begun her story.

She brings her 11 year old dog to school while dropping her child off as a norm… she’s been doing that for as long as I’ve known her, about six years give or take. It’s a golden Labrador named Ploppy. I know it well, it wet-noses the palm of my hand when I visit and benignly settles at my feet, all but offering a fluffy back to place my teacup while I talk to its owner. She’s an old girl set in her ways, just like me.

Last week, a small child teased the dog while on its lead. He circled her, stared her in the eyes and growled and mocked but didn’t touch her. She snapped, and bit him under the eye, he now has an impressive scar which I try not to stare at. I’m not sure how long this process took, nor what was involved.

This happened in a school playground with every other mother (apart from me as I was on my way home to bed) watching.

She received eleven phonecalls and text messages that night,

‘The sooner that dog is put down the better’

‘You shouldn’t have let your dog do that, what were you thinking?’

‘I want to be visiting that dog’s grave by next week so I can spit on it’

These were the comments she was getting about an old family dog who reacted to a stimulus. I have a dog. I warn my children about other dogs, about how they should be respected. Stray dogs should never be approached. Dogs on leads should only be petted with their owner’s permission, if a dog tries to attack you, NEVER run away… play dead, curl up. The usual stuff that EVERY parent should teach their kid.


What do you think? Have you ever been in a situation like this? If a dog bites should it automatically be put to death or should the circumstances be examined?

I feel sorry for Yoga friend. If the jury decides that her dog is to be killed, her kids would be gutted. But rules are rules, a child is scarred.

If you were the local vet and you knew this dog, what would you say?




Bring on the comments

  1. Grandad says:

    canis manducare canis?

    I’m always on the side of the dog. Kid shouldn’t have been allowed taunt dog. Where were both “moms” when this was happening? No one noticed the taunting?

    Personally, I’d euthanase whoever sent the third text message.

  2. Mary says:

    A similar thing happened to my parents-in-law. A young child accompanied by his mother, visiting their house, was permitted to tease and annoy the elderly dog and was bitten under eye. They had the dog put down themselves. The family sued, got a 5 figure sum. The boy, now a young man, was scarred for life. Personally, I blame his mother for not teaching him how to behave.

  3. Brianf says:

    My position on this may not be so popular but here goes.
    Canis Stupidis Ownerus Familiarus
    I think both dog and Mom of dog should be put down or at least incarcerated. How can you own a dog and not know when it’s getting mad and is ready to attack. I’ve owned lots of dogs and been in that position before and pulled the dog away from the situation. I blame said Mom of dog!
    I also would put down the person who sent the third text. Slowly.

  4. K8 says:

    Grandad: I’m not really sure how things went that day… all I know is, that dogs are nothing unusual in the playground when parents are dropping or collecting kids. Even the farmer’s dog strays in to the playground the odd time and is accepted without question. That’s probably why dog/child interaction was ignored that time. That ONE time. It’s all it takes I suppose.

    Mary: 5 figures!!! WOW. My heart goes out to your parents in law, not just for the sting of having to kill their own dog, or the weight of the money loss, but the heavy feeling of responsibility too. All of it could have been avoided if that kid was taught to respect animals more!! I suppose people who don’t own dogs just don’t consider that part of education.

    BrianF: I hear ya. It might help if you knew mother and dog though, it was out of character borne out of headwreck from what I hear. One of those things that happens very quickly in slow-motion if you will. I’ve always had a dog, and I trusted them with the kids.. my youngest used to get a slap from me (I’m not a slapping parent unless danger is involved) for trying to abuse our dog. He learned quickly, and respects other dogs now. I’m always alert with my dog in public, but I do let her off the lead in public forests. I think dogs feel threatened more ON the lead than off though, if that makes sense.

    Update to story… said mother of dog requested advice from her family vet. He claimed that if he was approached by anybody to have the dog put down, he would flatly refuse.

  5. Brighid says:

    Accidents happen. The child should not have been allowed to taunt the dog. Children should be taught how to behave around animals and people.
    Dogs in a public place should be on a lead. My dogs have all been well trained, but even so they do not go off lead in public.
    The vet and owner are most probably the best ones to decide what course of action to take.

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