My Kid Got Bit by a Dog & Now I'm Afraid I'll Never Like Dogs Again

dog teethIt was one of the worst moments of my life. On a beautiful morning just days ago, my 12-year-old daughter Charlotte and 7-year-old son Julian were playing on a swing set in a friend’s backyard. My son went inside to use the bathroom ... seconds later, I heard ear-piercing shrieks coming from the house. As a mom, the sound of kids screaming is a familiar one, to say the least, but I knew immediately that these cries were different. I jumped up just as my son ran outside with blood streaming down his face ... more blood than I’ve ever seen. “I just tried to pet the dog,” he sobbed.

The next moments are a blur: My daughter’s howls (“Mom, is Julian going to be blind?!”), the 911 operator insisting the dog be “contained” before the paramedics arrived, the police walking pulling on blue rubber gloves as they approached the house ... the EMT in the ambulance giving my son a little stuffed dog to hold, to remind him that “not all dogs are mean.” 

The dog isn’t a mean dog, just old and cranky,” said Julian. His words broke my heart. My stomach twisting itself into knots, all I could think was that if I never saw another dog in my life, it would be too soon.

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Here’s the thing: My son was right; the dog that bit him isn’t a bad dog. The dog is even used to being around kids -- we’re not sure what set him off that day. Which is what terrifies me. Because the truth is, even the most seemingly domesticated animal can never really be trusted, and to think otherwise is borderline foolish -- isn’t it? I’m not even sure anymore.

I never thought I would feel this way ... I was never afraid of my own dog, which was half pit bull, or any other dog, for that matter. But even though my son is perfectly okay, by some miracle (the bite was horrifyingly close to his eye, but seven stitches later, he’s on the mend), I doubt I’ll ever feel completely comfortable around any dog ever again. Am I overreacting? Will this fear fade in time? I honestly don’t know.

Has your child ever been bit by a dog? Did the experience change the way you feel about animals?

Image via José Carlos Cortizo Pérez/Flickr

safety, kid health


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nekoy... nekoyukidoll

my nephew is scared of little ones but not big ones.  He's never been bitten by them so we think it's due to the dogs being small and "yappers".  of course, it all depends on the dog as well so we're teaching him to be careful around not just dogs but all animals as well and he does pretty good.

Lovin... LovinJerseyMama

My two girls have been bitten separately on different occasions. Both by little dogs and nothing too serious. They understand that not all dogs are mean but some you should avoid trying to pet. I'm a dog groomer and I love dogs obviously. But there are some breeds, usually the little ones, that I just keep my kids away from in general. I would rather my kids run up to a pit bull or rottie any day of the week than a Yorkie or a shihtzu. Every dog that has bitten me during my career has been a small dog. Not once has a large breed dog bitten me. Sometimes you can just look at a dog and know that it's not going to be a fun dog to pet lol. I try to explain to my girls what to look for, behavior & display wise, when they see an animal they want to interact with. It's a learning experience, just like everything else in life. 

nonmember avatar Jennifer

When I was a child my father worked as a K9 officer with his police department. The first partner he had Rio was a great police dog and was good if not great with us kids. But as he got older and started having vision, hearing and pain problems we knew to just let him be. when my younger sister was 3 she stepped on his tail while he was sleeping. Poor old thing reared back and bit her in the face, but being the good dog he was immediately released her and began licking the blood up while whining. Now nearly 20 years later we both own dogs, my father has had several other tail wagging partners and we don't worry over much about my kids getting bit. Life happens and as long as people remember these are still animals no matter how domesticated they may be I'm not afraid to have my kids around dogs.

nonmember avatar Alexsmommy08

When I was three I was in my back yard with my mother when all of the sudden this Doberman pincher came running through my neighbors fence. For some reason it pounced on me...I don't remember it but I ended up with 45 stitches across my shoulders, and my mom ended up even worse. There is still a small scar. I grew up being petrified of dogs but when I had my son I knew I had to get over my fear because he ADORES them. There is not one dog he won't approach. I still get nervous but I know that my incident was random and as long as you are cautious and do not approach sofa without permission it's fine. Your kid will be ok and in time you will too.

nonmember avatar Maggie

As a fur baby owner without human children, my first thought is did he ask to pet the dog? While its horrible he was bit - I hate when people come up when I am walking my dogs and just start grabbing at them. I don't do that to your kids, don't do it to mine. My Shih Tzu would bite if provoked, but my pit bull would not!

cassi... cassie_kellison

I have been bitten by a dog and I have never had any lingering affects, other than the scar on my wrist. And this one we know was the dog being a shit because I was the third kid it had bitten that day. It was running loose in our neighborhood.

MrsRo... MrsRoberts413

That's the one thing about kids and pets: you can barely predict the behavior of each of them!  We're expecting our first, and as hard as it is, we know our 3 cats well enough to know that we would be putting our baby at risk of scratches and infection if we didn't have them declawed.  On top of that, they were becoming too destructive, despite exhaustive behavior modification strategies.  Thus, they are all recovering from their permanent manicures at the moment, doing just fine, personalities still intact, and I know we made the right choice for our family, both human and feline.  I know if one of our pets were to harm our child, my husband would get rid of them immediately, and this kitty-mama won't have it!  My furry children <3

hello... hellokd87

I have the belief that dogs can sense tension, for example if you're afraid of them, so I encourage my stepkids not to be afraid of dogs in general but to examine their demeanor. Of course a dog running up to you with his tail wagging is going to accept petting more than one who has his eaes down, tail down. There was a stray mix in the neighborhood & you could just tell it was a big puppy. Well, it jumped on my stepson and knocked him down & he freaked out. I told him the dog just wanted to play but didn't realize he was bigger. We also had a pekingese that would jump on him & I had to explaine several times that they're not being mean, they're just hyper/want to play. It seriously annoys me when people are afraid of dogs. I'm afraid of other humans more than dogs!!!!

Courtney Paige

Yes, you are overreacting! You need to teach your kids that they ONLY pet dogs when the owner allows it. When your kid falls of his bike are you done with bikes forever? No, you make sure safety measures are in a helmet.

nonmember avatar Helen

@alexsmommy....that is horrible! I have a cousin who too was attacked by a Doberman a few years ago and those dogs can do serious damage. I hope whoever owned the dog was properly punished and the dog was let down.

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