Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dog Bite

A few months ago, my inlaws lost their beloved dog, Buddy. He was poisoned, and it was absolutely awful for all involved. He was a good, sweet dog, and we were all so upset. My inlaws feel strongly that when they get a dog, they adopt from a shelter. Since they have 14 (at last count) grandchildren, it's also important that they have a dog that's good with children.

A couple months ago, my MIL (mother in law) called me on a Saturday afternoon. She and my FIL (father in law) were at the shelter, trying to pick out a new dog. They'd brought Hershey, their chocolate lab, and the two seemed to get along ok. They'd pretty much decided on a miniature pinscher and wanted to give him the final test. They wanted to see how he did with children. I brought my kids, and we met the dog. He seemed cautious about kids, but somewhat tolerant. We spent a good 30 minutes at the shelter playing with the dog. While he didn't want to actually interact with the kids, he tolerated them ok, and was not at all aggressive. They decided to bring him home.

They quickly discovered that he had kennel cough, and he wasn't able to be around other dogs much. As he started to recover, they were taking him on walks around the neighborhood. They realized that Snickers had what I like to call "Little Dog Syndrome". He was completely unaware that he was much smaller than the other dogs, and some of them could eat him for lunch. He would bark and try to start fights. He established dominance over Hershey, his roommate, but was constantly trying to fight with the other dogs in the family.

As time has gone on, he's gotten aggressive with the kids too. I know he's bitten K and M, both unprovoked. I have to admit I've gotten a bit nervous to have him around the kids as he's gotten more and more aggressive and less tolerant of kids.

On Saturday, my ILs had nicely volunteered to babysit our kids while we attended a wedding. When we arrived, Snickers was barking and barking and freaking out. My MIL picked him up to make sure everything stayed safe. J went to pet the dog. After a couple seconds, he turned and bit J's arm as hard as he could. It was a pretty nasty dog bite, and broke the skin and bled quite a bit.

My MIL was horrified over how bad the bite was.

At this point, she is contemplating getting rid of the dog. I feel really awful about the situation because it sounds like when it's just my MIL and FIL around, he's not a bad dog. He's crazy about them. They also are animal lovers, and not people to take getting rid of a dog lightly. In fact, I'm not sure they've ever gotten rid of a dog while it was still alive. I think it's awfully risky to keep him around if he's a biter.

I have to admit that I don't feel comfortable having the dog around my kids anymore. If that bite had been to one of my kids, particularly their face, it could've done some really serious damage. I support my inlaws in whatever choice they make. I will say that when we come over from now on, I'll want the dog to be kept locked in another room.

My brother in law's niece had her face practically destroyed by a dog bite, and I just don't want to take that risk with my babies.

POSTSCRIPT: The day after J was bitten, my BIL and SIL went to the inlaws' house for dinner. Snickers attempted to bite BIL, even though he wasn't even interacting with the dog. Snickers got put in time out for the rest of the visit. MIL and FIL consulted their vet a few days later. They asked about behavioral therapy and doggie prozac. The vet actually recommended that they rehome the dog, that he was just too big of a risk to have. They ended up taking him back to the Humane Society a couple days ago. I know they are really sad about it, and I am sorry for their loss. I think that they are averting a much bigger tragedy by doing this though.

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