A Cute Picture is NOT worth it!

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I received another e-mail today. You know the ones with a string of adorable pictures of babies and dogs. People send me these thinking I will love the cute photos of cute kids and cute dogs. I don’t. These pictures terrify me. They usually show a stressed out or aroused dog with a child who is too close. The videos that circulate are even worse! Children and dogs should not ever be set up for a photo opportunity. This is dangerous. A stressed dog can inadvertently smother or trample a small child, or scratch or bite them to stop them from screaming (or even giggling). Dogs can hurt babies by trying to play, or just in an attempt to get away, especially if mom or dad is there telling the dog to stay! This creates a conflict for a dog: instinct urges, leave the scene, but mom says stay, so how do I get out of this?

It is not worth it to have a cute photo or video, if the result is a scarred or disfigured child. Granted that the majority of times, no one is injured, but it is just not worth it. As a parent, I would not forgive myself if the dog reacted, well...like a dog. If something were to happen, I would have a hurt child (or worse), and would likely not ever be able to trust my dog again. Generally, when a child is injured by the family dog, it results in either euthanasia or re-homing, which is really just passing the problem on to another family.

I recently commented on one of these videos online, and someone responded that I needed to lighten up, that my comments were the reason people get rid of dogs when they have babies. Exactly the opposite is true! I work with people to prepare their dog for a new baby with the Dogs & Storks™ program. Educated parents who know not to take unnecessary risks with their babies and dogs are more likely to keep their dogs. Period.

(note: this pic is from istock, I did not use any from the e-mail, since I don't know who holds the copyright)