Would you leave your child alone with a dog as big and burly as the American Staffordshire Terrier? What if that child was in a permanent vegetative state? What about after that dog attacked another dog and bit it? This is the scenario faced by the parents of Dylan Gerzmehle, who lives in Germany. But the comatose boy's parents have already made up their mind that the dog, Tascha, and the boy, Dylan, will stay together, because Tascha has been Dylan's "caretaker" for years, lovingly watching over 10-year-old Dylan in his bed. However, the German authorities want to break up this love affair between boy and dog.
Tascha has been lying in watch over Dylan for six years, and his parents say that the pup has a calming effect on the boy. Tascha also snuggles up to the boy and licks his feet. She will often stay with him all day long. Says Dylan's dad:
Whenever the dog is with him, our son responds. He is happy. His breathing becomes quieter, his heart rate falls. That could only be because of this dog.
The problem? The dog apparently got into a fight with another neighborhood dog and bit it. Now the German authorities want to take Tascha away from Dylan -- and kill her.
That seems pretty extreme for a dog fight. But as a parent, would you trust your dog around your helpless child, if that dog had shown aggression with another dog?
Tascha has been diligently taking care of Dylan for six years, so I have to trust that his parents know what they are doing. Still, dogs are dogs. Any dog can have an anxious moment and bite. And with a dog as big as Tascha, and a boy as helpless as Dylan, that could be absolutely disastrous.
Still, putting the dog down is extreme. And many others think so too. A Facebook page has been started to save the pooch, and so far it has 180,000 members.
Dylan's doctors have agreed that the dog is important to Dylan's state of mind -- and that her disappearance would cause him profound distress.
We don't put people down when they throw punches -- or even bite -- other people. So why do we feel it's okay to put dogs to sleep who are just acting like dogs? Besides, the other dog has fully recovered, so how bad could the fight have been? Plus, reportedly Tascha didn't even start the whole thing.
I hope the German authorities reconsider this order. Killing Tascha will not only destroy the dog -- but Dylan.
Do you think the dog should be destroyed? Would you let your child around the dog?
Update: Dylan and Tascha will stay together. The dog has been saved, thanks to public support. See Dylan and Tascha's Facebook page for the victory message.
Images via Unterstützt Wachkomakind Dylan und seinen Hund Tascha/Facebook