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Mom’s Bark Is Worse Than The Dog’s Bite

| Friendly | March 21, 2016

(I’m walking my dog through a park. It’s an overcast day, so most of the walk passes without me seeing any other person. Eventually, however, I see a mother and her young son up ahead on the path, walking in my direction. Once we get close enough to really see each other, the little boy notices my dog and grins happily. Note that my dog is very sweet and tolerant of children, and hasn’t growled at or bit anyone since he was a puppy.)

Boy: “Doggy!”

Me: “You can pet him if you want! He’s really friendly.”

(His mother gives the okay and the boy runs over to pet my dog. My dog enjoys the attention while I make small talk with the mother.)

Mother: “Your dog is really good! Puppies are usually so hyper.”

Me: “Actually, he’s an adult. A regular old man, believe it or not!”

Mother: “Really? He’s so little! What kind of dog is he?”

Me: “He’s a mix, part-cocker spaniel and part-poodle. He—”

(Out of the corner of my eye, I see the boy grab my dog’s ear and yank on it. It happens too quickly for me to stop it. In response, my dog yelps in pain and snaps at the boy’s hand, but misses. I pull my dog away and the mother does the same to her son, and for a long moment we’re all too shocked to speak.)

Mother: “Your… your dog is vicious! It almost bit my son!”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but your son pulled on my dog’s ear. It hurt him, and that’s why he snapped. I’m sure your son didn’t know any better, but—”

Mother: “You lied! You said your dog was friendly!”

Me: “Ma’am—”

Mother: “It ought to be kept indoors, away from people! I bet it attacks people all the time! It’s a menace to society!”

Me: *deadpan* “Yes, my eleven-year-old dog who’s so small you mistook him for a puppy is a menace to society because he snapped at your son after he injured him. Look, ma’am, this dog hasn’t bit or tried to bite anyone since he was a year old, and he loves kids. But kids have to be nice to him in return. I’m sure your son is too young to know how to properly interact with a dog, but it’s up to you to teach him. If my dog had bitten your son, it wouldn’t have been my dog’s fault.”

Mother: *turns red and storms off with her son, muttering all the while*

Me: *in a high-pitched voice, to my dog* “Who’s a menace to society? You are!”

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