If you’re like us at Care2, you absolutely love animals. Maybe you even have one or two of your own! Cats, dogs, and other common pets with whom we share our homes and lives are widely praised for the traits that make them great friends — loyal, friendly, emotionally intelligent, and intuitive, to name a few. But just like people, every animal is different. When the mainstream perception of dogs, for example — tail wagging, tongue hanging out, mouth curled up in a smile — clashes with an individual dog’s reality — maybe it was abused, or simply born with high anxiety, and has a tendency to react in fear — it can make things difficult, or even dangerous, when that pup is out and about among people. Especially young ones.
Most kids adore animals! Unfortunately, most kids are not taught to appropriately deal with them. This can result in dangerous interactions when kids don’t know animal body language, haven’t learned that they need to ask before interacting with a new animal, and don’t understand that all animals are different. We know that a child running up to a dog is innocuous — but that dog does not. The quick movements, unpredictability, and sometimes less than gentle tendencies of kiddos can scare a dog enough for it to lash out in fear, leading to injuries that could seriously harm a child and mean a death sentence for the pooch. Aggression or fear aside, a pet’s owner knows best if it will enjoy being touched, or if it would prefer space to romp and play. Let’s give animals and kids the opportunity to live in harmony. Sign now if you want to see a short module on interacting with animals put into grade school curricula focusing on common house pets like dogs!