Thursday, July 17, 2008

The "Nanny Dog"

It's been awhile since I have become attached to a dog. I met Smash two years ago. Six months later he was hit by a car. I remember Mike calling me asking if I would pray for Smash. I could tell he was really upset about his dog and I not only prayed for Smash but I prayed for Mike as well.

I know what it is like to lose a dog. Dogs are like family, in my opinion. We care for them just as we do the rest of our family. Sometimes we even let them live in the house with us.

But Smash is more than just a dog. He has come to be a part of my family too. My three kids love Smash very much. Shiloh, my oldest, loves dogs. She loves Smash as if he was her own dog. Before the end of the school year, her school had pet day. Mike was gracious enough to share Smash so Shiloh could have a pet to bring. Smash enjoyed going to the school with all the children petting him.

My son Caleb for one reason or another went through a period of fear of dogs. With the help of Smash though, Caleb has befriended him. Caleb was very frightened and Smash knew it and in his own little way gradually nudged his way into Caleb's life. Now Caleb and Smash are buddies.

And with my youngest son Hunter who also loves dogs, Smash has become the official "Nanny Dog." Anytime we are out at his home, Smash stays near Hunter or any of my children for that matter. If any of the kids are crying Smash investigates and does his best to cheer them up. We love walking down to the creek so Smash happily comes along and watches over the kids.

One of the neighbor dogs we have nick named Shep dog (Since he is a German Shephard) is just a puppy. So sometimes Shep dog gets carried away. Smash will come between the kids and Shep dog as if he is protecting them. Earlier this year, I was house sitting and taking care of Smash. I took Hunter to the creek along with Smash and Shep dog trailing along. As we were heading back to the house with Hunter following me, Shep dog pounced him. As upset as I was, Smash showed how much more upset he was than me. He tore into Shep dog pushing him on a hill pinning him to the ground and growling at him.

Smash is a very special dog to myself and my kids. We enjoy taking him for rides and to the park for walks which he does quite well. One of the things the Nanny Dog also likes to do is "inspect" the kids when they get into the vehicle. My kids giggle and laugh about it since Smash is tickling them while sniffing.

Kids tend to be rough with dogs. One of the things I keep an eye out for is temperament. I have had an aggressive dog in the past so I am very cautious. With Smash, he has a great temperament with kids. I have seen his ears pulled, eye poked, nose poked or pinched and his tail pulled. Not one time did he ever snap at the kids.

That is not to say I completely trust him because dogs are not to be completely trusted. But when people are looking for a dog, they should not necessarily look for a specific breed unless they have done thorough research into their temepraments with children. It doesn't matter how cute they are you have to do research. Many breeds now have forums for owners so you can ask others how they do around children.

Since Smash is a mut or heinz 57 dog it is really hard to tell temperatment. When muts are puppies, they have to be trained and introduced to all family members. Teach children to treat the puppy with kindness. Any signs of aggression should raise a flag. Do not take chances.

From personal experience, dog bites affect everyone emotionally and financially. Everyone must learn while training a dog including the dog.

In Smash's case he has been shown unconditional love since he was a puppy. His owners have taken care of him on a daily basis or had someone fill in for them. I am not talking just about feeding and watering him but showing attention. He is taken for daily walks a few times a day. He is petted throughout the day as well.

Dogs are truly like family so treat them as you would your family.

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