How Toddlers Should Approach Strange DogsBeth Anne Ballance
A few months ago, we had to put down our family miniature dachshund, who was 16 1/2 years old. It was one of the most heart-breaking days of my life even though we knew it was for the best. It took several months but we are dog people and it just started feeling empty at my parent’s house without little paws. So this weekend, my mother brought home a little mix with soft fur and a funny underbite.
Everyone, say “hi” to Molly!
She’s my mom’s first rescue dog, but now we’re a family of rescues – all of my siblings and I own mixed breeds pulled from shelters or the back of a barn.
As you might remember, Harrison and I are currently staying with my folks on work nights until we move into our new house, which is so much closer. So on Sunday night, we kissed Doug goodbye and did our weekly trek back into Raleigh. This time, Molly was waiting at the door for us!
Harrison was thrilled with a new dog – maybe a little too thrilled – and he scared Molly.
He’s just used to a big ol’ dog like Tuck, who’s half German Shepherd and half Collie. Tuck was already in the family before Harrison arrived, so he’s never known life without her and she probably can’t remember life without him. Molly, on the other hand, has never been in contact with a toddler.
We came in and greeted Molly and I reminded Harrison to pet a strange doggie on the back, not the head, and to do it very gently. I kneeled down with my hand on Molly the entire time just to be sure of her reaction. But once they greeted each other, Harrison seemed to think it was time to share. So he ran to get his light-up cement truck with the loud siren and Molly went running! Before I could grab him, he chased her until I finally swooped in and reminded him that Molly was knew and she was shy.
I spent the rest of the evening playing referee to my exuberant kid and the timid new dog, but I think they’re going to be okay friends as long as Harrison remembers to be gentle.
But don’t worry, I won’t be leaving them alone together any time soon, not even for five seconds.