Pets Are Not For Hitting


Silas is in the tail-pulling, fist-of-fur-grabbing stage of animal interaction. There is lots of, "No, gentle pets, please...like this" going on in our house. He'll get it eventually, I know, and we are very fortunate to have such tolerant animals in our lives. If he ever gets to be too much for them, they just get up and walk away. I feel for Nikita, though. She's a very sensitive soul and I know that that all the poking and prodding wears on her.

It seems as if everyone in our little neighborhood has a dog or two. We see a few of them and hear several more every day when we take our walk. Nikita usually ignores them, unless they're outside and are barking at her aggressively. To be honest, I have been absolutely shocked by how many people hit their dogs. It happened earlier this week when a dog was barking at us and the owner just started hitting her, trying to make her stop. I felt guilt, because she was barking at us and if we weren't there it wouldn't have been a problem. I felt sadness, because I know that animal doesn't understand why she was being hit. And I felt frustration, because it happened in front of my son. I guess I knew that in my quest to teach Silas kindness and compassion to all living things I would eventually have to address the fact that there are people in the world who do hurt each other and animals unnecessarily. I just wasn't expecting to have to come up with an explanation so soon. 

15 comments:

  1. this is an issue i've had to address recently too when a young neighbor boy started hitting our dog with a stick. i had a proud mama moment when tanner instantly spoke up to the boy telling him not to hit duke. despite it being a topic that our hearts wish to hold off on a bit longer, your boy will be all the better for the early lesson :)

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    1. Oh! It just breaks my heart when kids show such cruelty to animals. It's such a hard thing to process. Way to go Tanner for doing the right thing!

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  2. Maybe, just maybe Courtney, if we keep trying one day the people will be kind to each other and all other living things. My world was turned upside down yesterday by the act of another human being and it just makes me so terrible sad. It is nice to read that there are people in the world teaching love and kindness. Hug that sweet baby of yours!

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    1. Oh, Tracey, I'm sorry to hear that there was sadness in your day. I've had several moments of sadness this week -- in addition to the dog issue, it seems that everywhere I went I heard unkind and hurtful words being said to children. It's left me feeling so heavy. But, you're right. All we can do is keep trying and hoping.

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  3. OH! That makes me so mad! How would the owner feel if I just walked up to him and started hitting him because I didn't like what he was saying because that is essentially what happened? I'm so sorry Silas had to see this so early. As mamas, these moments are so hard because we want to shelter our babies and show them only love. Just know that you are raising Silas in a much better environment and that he understands love.

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    1. Exactly! I knew that I couldn't protect Silas from the realities of the world forever, but I thought I'd have more than 14 months to prepare for helping him to process it all.

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  4. The worst part is how young children imitate everything they see.... recently, our 2 dogs came charging into the house and in a wild moment, knocked Phoebe over and hurt her. I was furious, and so I yelled at the dogs to move out of the way. For several weeks after that, Finn kept yelling at the dogs every time they got close to Phoebe "GET OUT OF HERE DOGS!". Cute and protective, yes, but I also don't want him to yell at animals unnecessarily. And I knew it was all my fault because that was what I had demonstrated.
    I guess my point is that it is hard enough to censor my own actions at times, because it seems like the negative actions get picked up much more quickly than the positive ones! So... how do we ever keep little eyes away from people who are doing things that are completely unacceptable, like hitting their dogs? I guess just an explanation that not everyone is caring is helpful, but actions do speak louder than words.

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    1. I've had similar thoughts, Taryn, about how I speak to our dog in front of Silas. We had an almost identical moment when Nikita knocked Silas over, he started crying, and I got furious with the dog and with much anger in my voice told her to go to her bed. Silas looked so confused...it was a real wake-up call that he takes in everything that I say - not just the words, but the tone...everything. It can be so hard to be mindful of it all.

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  5. We had to run a secondary fence INSIDE of our fenced-in backyard because the grandkids of our next-door-neighbors would not stop poking our dogs with sticks and throwing rocks at them. We yelled at the kids, spoke to their parents and grandparents, and even threatened to call the cops after my border collie came inside with a gash on her nose. Nothing worked. It's infuriating.

    Trinity has always been instinctively gentle with all of our animals. Dogs, cats, rabbits, rats, hamsters, birds, snakes, lizards, turtles, fish... She loves them all and seems to inherently know how to behave with each. Gabe is more rough. He likes to tackle our larger male cat. In his defense, Tiger will come and tackle him from behind to instigate play, so I think it's a mutually fun thing. It's never resulted in an angry cat or either party getting hurt. But I still try to encourage gentler play. My own Nikita (my border collie) is the best dog in the world with kids, and Gabe follows her around pulling on her and screaming commands in her face. Thankfully, she's a really good sport and typically just sits down and lets him climb all over her.

    I hate that Silas had to witness that. If you keep showing him that animals deserve love and respect, he will learn. For now, be happy he enjoys your pets enough to want to interact with them! I've always been a huge animal lover (obviously) and I have apparently been drawn to animals since I was a baby. My sister could care less about having animals, and she largely ignored our pets even as a small child. I think a love of animals is something that is largely inherent, and begins early. Keep fostering that love, Mama!

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    1. Oh, Kimberly! You have to wonder what is going on in those kids' lives for them to continually and purposefully hurt your dogs. Such sadness. I do feel very blessed that Silas seems to have inherited my feelings of kinship with the animal world.

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  6. Your dog looks so soft and sweet in the picture. I imagine all of us have witnessed animal hitting.
    So grateful to see you're teaching your child to be kind.

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    1. She is a very sweet girl and we love her dearly. We're very lucky that she is extremely patient and good with kids!

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  7. I can't believe people hit their dogs?! It seems like such an odd thing to do.

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    1. I agree! I suppose we all have moments when our feelings of frustration or anger get the better of us and those who suffer most are those who are least able to defend themselves - like our pets.

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  8. Pets can be trained & they will listen to us if we behave with them in a proper way.

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