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Author Topic: Why Would You do This to Your Kid?
StillandSilent
I Saw Three Shipments


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At the animal shelter I work at, all the dogs are down one long hallway. There are ten kennels on each side, with apprx. 4 dogs in each kennel. Large dogs on one side, small on the other. As one can imagine, the noise level can get deafening.
Now, we often get families with small children coming to look at dogs. The kids are generally frightened by the noise and the sight of dogs larger than they are jumping on the kennel doors. About twice a day, I have a kid in tears, clinging to a parent, or running back out the door. This is understandable.
What I don't understand, is the number of parents who don't seem to care. If I see a child becoming upset, I always offer to send one parent back to the lobby with the kid and let the other look at the dogs. Then if they see one they like, I can always bring it out for the child to look at. Most of the time I just get a quick "oh he'll be fine" and they keep on going. Meanwhile the child is becoming more and more hysterical and crying, which only gets the dogs going worse.
Now, I will admit, I am not a mother myself, and my parental instincts are somewhat lacking but I just can't imagine how you could see your child in terror and not fix the situation. Maybe a parent here could give a good reason why someone would do this?

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Ladycrissdean
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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Maybe a parent here could give a good reason why someone would do this?

Because they are more concerned about themselves than their child! Some parents just have no clue.

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guruwan2b
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Maybe you should post a sign that says "Children under the age of X may be uncomfortable in the kennel. Dogs can be brought to the front to meet small children."

Personally I wouldn't want to take a small child around a lot of strange dogs, even kennelled. My daughter at 5 was very uncomfortable around large dogs.

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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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They probably want the child to be involved in the process of picking the dog, but IMO, they're going about it wrong. Once the kid shows that s/he's frightened, I would arrange another way for the kid to meet the "finalists," if you will.

Like you, though, I'm hesitant to judge when I don't understand te full situation. I'm a parent, but I try to remember that doesn't make me all-knowing about other people's kids.

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tribrats
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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I'm a parent and I can't come up with a single reason I would do that to my kids. We have removed our kids from lesser situations and gotten told by other parents we were spoiling them!

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Little Pink Pill
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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I don't know about these people with the dogs, but I know with my daughter, it is better to calm her down and get her to face a fear rather than let her run away from it. That only reinforces the idea that there was something bad she needed to be afraid of in the first place.

For some odd reason when she was 3, Tablet decided fruit seeds were a wicked, wicked thing. The first time she ate down to a peach pit, she threw the offending fruit across the room and started screaming hysterically. Apparently she was convinced it was some sort of assassin bug, hiding with the express and evil design of jumping out of her innocent snack and biting her lips off. We made her sit down on my lap and proceeded to cut open 1/2 a dozen peaches, explaining over and over that the seeds were "baby trees" and wouldn't hurt her. I eventually even made her touch one. It took awhile, but it worked, and though she is still wary of them, she isn't drop dead terrified of pits anymore.

Assassin bugs, however, are another thing entirely.

Edited for clarity

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Jay Temple
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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I'm inclined to give these parents the benefit of the doubt and assume that their thinking is similar to LPP's.

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Gale
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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yabbut, there's a differenc between a single peach and a whole kennel of dogs. I can see teaching a kid to face his fears when there's one dog around, but a whole bunch? I think adults sometimes forget how big a dog can seem to a child and that a kid might not have learned that they gate is going to hold. I don't think it's cruelty, but I do think it's not thinking.

ETA: I won't even go in a pound or shelter myself because I'm just too sensitive about seeing the animals caged up. Even no kill shelters: I'll be sad and weepy for days. My brother and I have a deal: when I am ready for a new cat, he will go and pick it out. Otherwise, I will bring home 7. I don't think I'd want to expose a kid to the realities of a shelter situation. I think they should know that they're helping and maybe rescuing a dog and giving it a better life. I don't think young kids (or this old one) is ready for the reality of it, the sheer overwhelming numbers.

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Starla
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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I think it's either a misguided attempt to help the child get over the fear or what I think of as "temporary parental insanity." TPI is when parents who are otherwise very good and caring get into situations where embarrassment can occur and suddenly do things they wouldn't do if rational. They are embarrassed their kid is crying, and they want their kid to not be afraid, but instead of thinking rationally about how best to deal with the situation (leave, get down on the kid's level and talk it out for a minute, etc) they put on a brave face and act like everything is fine, willing it to be so.

Other cases of TPI are when parents make their kids hug Great Uncle Ed even though his mustache is scary or admonish, "don't be shy," when their child hides behind their legs when a stranger says hi at the store. The desire that their child be seen in the best possible light, combined with wanting to be seen as a good parent, and the pressure of a situation that doesn't allow them time to stop and think can make otherwise very good parents do odd things.

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GenYus
Away in a Manager's Special


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LPP, the difference between what you posted and the OP is that the parents in the OP didn't seem to be doing anything to sooth the kid. They didn't explain, "The doggies are just happy to see you and they want to play." They didn't show the kid that the dogs are behind the doors and can't get the child. They just ignored the kids fears.

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Dog Friendly
Carol of the Bills


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When I take families with small children through the runs, I always stop first and explain to the little ones that "there will be barking". The dogs get excited when people they don't know are inside their home, and when one of them starts barking, they usually all join in. It doesn't mean they want to bite you, it means they want to come out and play with a new friend.

I'll go on to explain that the best way to get the dogs to calm down is to be calm yourself, so even if you get frightened, just grab Mommy's or Daddy's hand and act like you're not really scared. It helps the doggies not to be excited.

I give the parents a brief bit about staring and eye contact. Then, when everybody's ready, we'll go in.

Dog (Works for me, some of the time anyway) Friendly

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N11/N12
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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The parent should at least be by the child's side for comfort's sake, kind of like what LLP said. You'd be surprised how helpful it is to a kid when he or she sees that the parents aren't scared. But the very last thing a parent should do is ignore their children, making them feel scared and alone.

It's good for children to face their fears, but not in a way that might scar them for life.

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Daniceguy
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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Tough call.....as Lainie said, although I'm a parent I try to remember that I don't know everything about parenting.

If my 3 year-old were crying I'd probably take him out, but I'm not so sure about a 5 or 6 year-old. At some point kids need to begin to develop their own ability to deal with stressful situations, and mommy or daddy won't always be there to help. I think school-age is a good time to start.

One of my 6 year-old daughter's friends is absolutely terrified of our two, large dogs. These are very sweet and harmless dogs, but they can be over-affectionate. Whenever she comes over we go to extreme lengths to avoid any contact with them. When the kids are inside the dogs are outside and vice versa. Despite this, last time she became upset because she thought the dogs were trying to turn the doorknob! Don't tell her, but they probably were - they just lack opposable thumbs!

I wish she would get more comfortable with the dogs, but I won't deliberately frighten her or try to "wean" her of her dog-phobia. That's not my job. I just try to make sure she enjoys her visits to our house.

Of course, I wish my own kids were a little MORE afraid of dogs sometimes, especially strange dogs, but they've been exposed to animals from infancy and don't seem to have any fear of them.

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ILS
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by Daniceguy:
Of course, I wish my own kids were a little MORE afraid of dogs sometimes, especially strange dogs, but they've been exposed to animals from infancy and don't seem to have any fear of them.

My boys are the same way. The almost always want to pet any dog they meet. At 6 & 9, they have gotten pretty good at knowing to ask the human companion if they can.

Recently though, they have gotten some strange responses from people. Instead of just saying "No, my dog my overreact" or some similar explanation, these people have felt the need to lecture on why it is unwise to approach strange dogs. But, ummmmm, that is why my child has asked you if it was ok or not in the first place.

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Little Pink Pill
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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quote:
Originally posted by GenYus:
LPP, the difference between what you posted and the OP is that the parents in the OP didn't seem to be doing anything to sooth the kid. They didn't explain, "The doggies are just happy to see you and they want to play." They didn't show the kid that the dogs are behind the doors and can't get the child. They just ignored the kids fears.

In that case, I want to hope it's TPI, like Starla said. Since these people are at a shelter to pick out a pet in the first place, I'd like to think they are compassionate people at heart.

Maybe in the cacophony of dog barking and yelping the parent's aren't really noticing how scared the kids are, too?

Maybe. Heh.

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The technical term is narcissism. You can't believe everything is your fault unless you also believe you're all powerful.--House

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Kitten in the rain
Jingle Bell Hock


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I'm not a parent, but it seems to me that weaning a child of their fear through a traumatic experience like wandering up a corridor with barking, lunging dogs on either side is just going to make things worse, not better. Whereas taking the child out of the room and exposing them to the dogs one by one would be a more gentle way of handling it that might work. Once a child gets hysterical, from what I've seen, nothing gets through -- they can no longer learn anything from the experience other than the fact that they are frightened.

I also agree with Starla that I would be hesitant to expose a child to the reality of the shelter situation. It breaks my heart, too. I generally now go to adopt pets through the SPCA foster program or similar foster organizations because then at least I know that the cats I'm looking at will have a loving home to go back to at the end of the day.

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FrogFeathers
Grandma Got Run Over By a Gift Card


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My kids weren't afraid of dogs (still aren't, but they're old enough now to be cautious). But as a parent, if they can't be soothed, then I don't force them. (I loved the "wicked, wicked seeds" story, made me smile.) [Wink]

My big thing was Santa Claus. I didn't want a picture of my child(ren) sitting on an annoyed costumed man's lap while screaming and red-faced.

When my oldest was just over a year old, the in-laws came to visit (the husband was shipping out to the Gulf right after Christmas). We went to the big mall and I told MIL that if Kat reacted with fright and tears, I wasn't going to force her to go up to Santa Claus. She was quite happy to have him confined to the TV and decorations. So, my husband starts walking with her toward Santa, she balked and started to cry (again, she was only 16 months old). So, he backed off.

Later in that day, I went to the ladies room and come out to find FIL dragging my screaming kid toward Santa Claus. MIL was standing there, urging them on to "hurry up". I walked up, picked up my sobbing, red-faced, snotty child and walked away.

Not exactly the same thing- but if I can't calm down my child, then I remove them from the situation. BTW, the following year, she was fine with Santa and we got a smiling picture of her with the jolly old guy at my dad's Mason Lodge.

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"Is it ME? Am I a MAGNET for these idiots?"~Pearl Forrester MST3K
Die-Hard Engineers, Big Red One my Dad's website
"Must be a 'snopes' thing..." ~my entire family when I try to explain something.

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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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I also think adults tend to forget how BIG some dogs seem to small children. As a child, not only was I terrified of the neighborhood Irish setter, I was baffled as to why grownups didn't understand my fear. He was bigger than me. When he stood on his hind legs, he was taller than me. I don't recall being afraid that he would bite me, or that he would cause me any deliberate harm; but he was big and boisterous (and not very bright) and he could easily have hurt me just trying to say hi.

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kingfan1978
Deck the Malls


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We just had this experience over the weekend. Our 2-year-old nephew & his parents stayed at our place overnight & poor J was definitely not comfortable in our "animal house". (We have 2 cats & 2 dogs...they have one cat at home that runs from him.)

The biggest fear for him was (quite understandably) our 35 lb., 8 month old coonhound/shepherd puppy. She's very excitable & has a really loud bark. He'd hide behind his mom any time he saw her so she had a lot of cage time.

What blew my mind was he was almost as scared of our 15 lb. dachshund. Granted, she's very affectionate & doesn't hestitate to jump up in someone's lap. He just was not comfortable until we caged her as well. When kids aren't exposed to animals on a daily basis, sometimes their fears are almost dabilitating. Heaven forbid they are ever around a not-so-nice doggie...that fear is going to make them a bullseye for an angry/scared dog.

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U.T. Raptor
Jingle Bell Hock


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quote:
Originally posted by Lainie:
I also think adults tend to forget how BIG some dogs seem to small children. As a child, not only was I terrified of the neighborhood Irish setter, I was baffled as to why grownups didn't understand my fear. He was bigger than me. When he stood on his hind legs, he was taller than me. I don't recall being afraid that he would bite me, or that he would cause me any deliberate harm; but he was big and boisterous (and not very bright) and he could easily have hurt me just trying to say hi.

I have a hard time imagining being afraid of an Irish Setter, but then my parents had one when I was growing up.

But who am I to talk, I was scared to death by a neighbor's Chihuahuas...

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guruwan2b
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Chihuahuas are ebil...... :0)

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FrogFeathers
Grandma Got Run Over By a Gift Card


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quote:
Originally posted by guruwan2b:
Chihuahuas are ebil...... :0)

That is true. They use their "cuteness" against you and trick you into becoming a resting spot. Just today, mine used her ebil-cuteness to cause the husband to buy her a new toy, because he "felt like she needed one"...

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"Is it ME? Am I a MAGNET for these idiots?"~Pearl Forrester MST3K
Die-Hard Engineers, Big Red One my Dad's website
"Must be a 'snopes' thing..." ~my entire family when I try to explain something.

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Ariadne
Deck the Malls


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This topic made me feel a little silly because I am a little afraid of dogs, too, and walking down a hallway with barking dogs on either side would be a bit much for me. I grew up with dogs and I don't mind them, but when I am running or walking through the neighborhood and a dog starts barking and lunging toward me, I get a little trembly inside and start wondering if the fence is high enough or the chain will hold. This is one of many reasons why I am a cat person. So I can see why a little kid would not want to be in such a situation.

On the other hand, I am not a parent, but from a teacher's perspective, there are some kids that just cry. A lot. In one class of Kindergarteners that I teach, there are three (yes, three!) kids who often cry for no real reason, or for the slightest offense ("Billy is using the red marker and I want it"). If a parent or volunteer walked into the room and saw a kid crying and none of the adults in the room doing anything about it, the visitor would probably come to the conclusion that we are awful, heartless people. We are certainly not. I woud do just about anything for the kids I teach. Honestly, though, some kids just cry for attention or to try to avoid something they don't want to do and stop when they want to stop. I don't know if this applies to the shelter situation, but after working with these kids I certainly think twice before judging any parent of a sobbing child.

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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Ariadne:
On the other hand, I am not a parent, but from a teacher's perspective, there are some kids that just cry. A lot. In one class of Kindergarteners that I teach, there are three (yes, three!) kids who often cry for no real reason, or for the slightest offense ("Billy is using the red marker and I want it"). If a parent or volunteer walked into the room and saw a kid crying and none of the adults in the room doing anything about it, the visitor would probably come to the conclusion that we are awful, heartless people. We are certainly not. I woud do just about anything for the kids I teach. Honestly, though, some kids just cry for attention or to try to avoid something they don't want to do and stop when they want to stop. I don't know if this applies to the shelter situation, but after working with these kids I certainly think twice before judging any parent of a sobbing child.

[hijack]As one of those kids who cried a lot in the early years of school, I have to comment on this. My frequent crying over minor issues had nothing to do with any conscious motivation, and everything to do with the fact that tears just came to me easily. It was a physical response, and it took me longer to learn to control it than it did most other kids. I still cry easily.

Thank you, however, for not responding by telling these kids "it's nothing to cry about." At least some of them already know that -- I certainly did. [/hijack]

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How homophobic do you have to be to have penguin gaydar? - Lewis Black

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Xia
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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Personally, I wouldn't want small children around a kennel full of dogs! I'm surprised the shelter even allows them in the kennel area...
Small children are more likely to not understand how to behave around dogs. They may put their hands/fingers into the wrong cage and get bitten, or chewed on by a playful pup, or if there is anyone bringing a dog out while they are there they could get jumped on and injured, and I'll bet the parents would blame the shelter for that...
In addition I wouldn't want little kids in the area because I just don't think it's a good idea to let the kids pick the dog, and I know that's the reason a lot of families bring them to a shelter. A child is not a good judge of which dog will fit in best with their lifestyle, and if you let them "help" pick a dog there's a good chance they might take a liking to a specific dog, and many parents would let them choose or adopt a dog because their child really likes it, which is NOT a good way to pick a dog to adopt!
I'm not saying the kids shouldn't be part of the adoption process, but I think they should perhaps wait at the front or in another area, and perhaps let them choose from, as someone put it, the "finalists" after the adults and shelter workers have picked out a few dogs that would be good candidates for their family.

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CherryQueen
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by Frog_Feathers:
quote:
Originally posted by guruwan2b:
Chihuahuas are ebil...... :0)

That is true. They use their "cuteness" against you and trick you into becoming a resting spot. Just today, mine used her ebil-cuteness to cause the husband to buy her a new toy, because he "felt like she needed one"...
All toy breeds possess the "ebil-cuteness" ability. My Oliver uses his to obtain Cheez-Its and saltine crackers.

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"Hilariously, he pronounces "Sauron" as "Sore-on", which sounds like something you apply directly to facial herpes."--theagonybooth.com

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Ariadne
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by Lainie:
quote:
Originally posted by Ariadne:
On the other hand, I am not a parent, but from a teacher's perspective, there are some kids that just cry. A lot. In one class of Kindergarteners that I teach, there are three (yes, three!) kids who often cry for no real reason, or for the slightest offense ("Billy is using the red marker and I want it"). If a parent or volunteer walked into the room and saw a kid crying and none of the adults in the room doing anything about it, the visitor would probably come to the conclusion that we are awful, heartless people. We are certainly not. I woud do just about anything for the kids I teach. Honestly, though, some kids just cry for attention or to try to avoid something they don't want to do and stop when they want to stop. I don't know if this applies to the shelter situation, but after working with these kids I certainly think twice before judging any parent of a sobbing child.

[hijack]As one of those kids who cried a lot in the early years of school, I have to comment on this. My frequent crying over minor issues had nothing to do with any conscious motivation, and everything to do with the fact that tears just came to me easily. It was a physical response, and it took me longer to learn to control it than it did most other kids. I still cry easily.

Thank you, however, for not responding by telling these kids "it's nothing to cry about." At least some of them already know that -- I certainly did. [/hijack]

Thanks, Lainie--you are right, of course. Some kids are sensitive and cry easily; they aren't all trying to get attention (though some are). It is hard to just let a kid sit there and cry, but sometimes it's all you can do. If you have any suggestions for what worked for you let me know! I would never tell a student that something is not worth crying over because, obviously, to the child it is. [/continued hijack]

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Chimera
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Heck some kennels even scare me. When I'm looking to adopt an animal I look first then bring my bitch (shepherd) and my kid in for the final approval. If the animal is brought out on a one on one basis its often not as intimendating. I've been scared half to death walking through halls of barking beast. It can occasionaly be too much, even for me.

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ChelleGame
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In our shelter we had visitation rooms, but half of them were beyond the kennel area -- you had to go by a row of dogs. (The other half was in the cat room, which is a whole different fear for some people.)

A lot of people ascribe to the "Suck It Up" school of parenting. These are the people who think you teach a kid to swim by tossing them in a lake. They think the best way to get a child beyond a fear of dogs is to force them into close quarters with one -- and mock them or berate them when they cry.

And, yes, it was common for people to let their child pick the pet, and that's almost always a bad move. It was just another way people foisted their stupidity on helpless animals. I saw parents and children divided on a pet -- and the kids usually won. Even when I (an adoption counselor) thought it was a mad maneuver, I couldn't prove it, and it was not a reason to deny adoption.

Sometimes it was the right move too. We had an older doxie up for adoption, and we intended not to adopt out to a house with children...older, small dogs usually don't need the stress, and most kids try to lug them around like dolls....and with doxies having back issues? A little boy came in and fell in love. This was not the type of dog the mother had wanted, but her son was set on it. I told her that we had not intended to adopt her to a home with kids.

The mother sat down with me and explained her son -- about 8 -- loved animals, was a little shy around other kids, and loved to just be quiet and read. He was in counseling due to some tragedies that she did not reveal, and that the counselor recommended a pet.

I was told to watch them interact, and make the judgement based on that, and the boy was terrific with the dog. I allowed the adoption, and they came back to visit once in a while. The child picked the dog that was right for him...someone to talk to, and to be next to him while he read...and also a point of conversation to make friends.

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Michelle

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Doug4.7
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I vote for TPI. We all do it now & then. The parents were trying to help the child by looking for a dog.

The other option is you may not know the child like the parent does. This may be SOP (standard operating procedure) for this child.

At times, the "suck it up" school is valid. Also, I don't think that one visit can "scar a child for life".

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And now for something completely different...

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Lainie
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quote:
Originally posted by ChelleGame:
I was told to watch them interact, and make the judgement based on that, and the boy was terrific with the dog. I allowed the adoption, and they came back to visit once in a while. The child picked the dog that was right for him...someone to talk to, and to be next to him while he read...and also a point of conversation to make friends.

Awwww. That's sweet. I'm glad you had the flexibility to handle it that way.

Ariadne, the only thing that worked for me was time. And that betrayed me in the end -- now I'm in my mid-40's and premenopausal and again I cry at the drop of a hat. Like at the ChelleGame's story about the little boy adn the doxie. [Roll Eyes]

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