Saturday, July 14, 2012

Wake-Up Growl

This week, I'm counting my blessings, and those blessings include a safe and healthy baby boy and the chance to learn from mistakes.

On Thursday night, we had a bit of a scare at my MIL's. We always keep their dog Charlie baby-gated out of the room where Munch plays. And usually Charlie just sits out in the living room and ignores everyone.

Charlie is older, about 10 or 12, and I've had a bit of a storied history with his moods. I've never been happy that he would bolt after squirrels and get quite dog-aggressive when people would walk by with their canines. And then there was the horrifying incident where he and dear old husky Gus were under my care and ended up getting into a certified dogfight and smearing blood throughout an apartment in Virginia. But that's a story for another post.

And this is not to say that Charlie is not a lovely dog; he is. He's sweet to me and to his "people" in general, and he has been there with us through much family history. 

I'm always nervous with Munch around dogs. I think it's natural, and I think parents who aren't cautious around dogs are asking for trouble. No matter how sweet a dog's disposition, the fact is, they can do damage if they choose to. And, you really never know what might set a dog off. Pack/alpha mentality and all that. A dog that has regular and up-close contact with a young child really needs intensive and strict training specifically focusing on interacting with children and respecting boundaries.

Well, Thursday night we were eating dinner and Charlie was at the baby gate, whining. And we all kept commenting on how Charlie never acts that way. Something seemed off. Munch got down after he was done eating and went to play, not 10 feet from us. We were all watching him from the kitchen table, and then he started laughing and going toward the baby gate. 

Now, we always are with him when he goes near the gate and Charlie is over there. But, none of us got up--not me, Hubbaland, MIL, or SFIL. It was so cute listening to him laugh. And Charlie had been out at the grandparents and around Munch all weekend. 

So Munch continues to laugh and move toward the gate and suddenly we hear this massive growl/snarl. Of course we all jumped up then to find Munch sitting on his butt in front of the baby gate looking at us all like, what the heck, and then he burst into tears from fright. MIL and SFIL raged pretty hard at Charlie and locked him in the basement. 

Everyone was pretty shaken up, and MIL feels very bad. I told her, it's all of our fault. We all sat there. 

I honestly feel like we had angels around the table, screaming at us to get up as Munch was going over to the gate. Hubbaland said he thought to himself, I should get up. All of our instincts were screaming to go. 

I just feel that sometimes, you get lazy on things, and you think, assume, oh, it's fine, and this was a reminder to stay alert. I just thank God that all it was was a sound and Charlie didn't bite Munch or anything. 

MIL says Charlie will now be locked away in a room when Munch is over, and that does need to happen. She said she didn't want me to be nervous. I said, I'm not going to lie, I'm going to be nervous, because once a dog has done something like that, there's no trusting him again, but I know that she and SFIL were as shaken as Hubs and me, and I know she'll be careful. 

It's scary all the things that can go wrong, when your whole heart is wrapped in this tiny being fumbling through the big world. But all we can do is alert, stay vigilant, and do the best we can.

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