Commentary – Teach your kids something worthwhile

Katrina Owens

For pete’s sake ladies and gentlemen, please teach your kids that shoe laces do not (and should not) count as leashes for dogs or cats. If I have to hear about one more preventable canine or feline death I might explode. As you can guess, this is something of a pet peeve of mine because if something is completely preventable…why let it happen? It doesn’t make sense!

I was at the local dog park last week with a fellow fur-mama (who I’ll leave unnamed), we both were chatting while our dogs were frolicking around. It was all peaches and cream and then this cluster of kids came along with their little teacup-sized chihuahua. The kids had a pretty thin leash around the dog’s neck and as my eyesight isn’t good (I wasn’t wearing my glasses) I didn’t think much of it. Thankfully my counterpart noticed the leash in fact wasn’t a leash at all, it was a shoelace and it was choking the dog. I’m actually surprised the string-sized leash didn’t cut right through the dog’s flesh to the bone. Don’t fret though because we were able to get it off just in time, but hadn’t we been there I’m sure the poor thing would have choked to death. Where were the parents? I asked the same thing and found out the kids (which were all rather young) were at the park by themselves whilst the mom was elsewhere.

We eventually found her and explained what had happened; she of course started to blame the kids and thanked us. I understand kids make mistakes but I couldn’t help but think, ‘didn’t you see them using a shoelace before you dropped them off?’ Turns out she did! You can’t blame your kids if you’re not teaching them the proper way to walk an animal. This frustrates me to no end, as a child I was taught first and foremost how important it is to put a collar and a lead before heading outside. Hearing the excuse that both of those are too expensive drives me up the wall because for a whopping $1.25 you can get each at the local dollarstore. Furthermore, if you can’t afford to get them basic walking apparatuses, you probably can’t afford the more expensive things that come along with ownership, such as food and vaccines both of which are essential.

I’m not saying I am a perfect dog owner, I feed mine human food every so often, I sometimes don’t walk them as much as I should, I can get frustrated…but I definitely don’t put them in harms way. And I’m not bashing the parent mentioned above (so you can put down your torches and pitchforks), all I am trying to say is as any decent human being should, teach your kids that dogs are living things and aren’t toys.

Preventable measures are always easier (and less tragic) than dealing with the aftermath. I’m just I was able to help that little dog breathe; it hurts my heart to think about what would have happened if I decided not to go. Again, my experience could have easily been avoided if the parent didn’t allow the kids to use a shoelace because after all kids are just kids and they learn from us.

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