Images of children standing on dogs are disturbing to some, not cute.
Last week, I saw two images on Facebook of children standing on dogs. One shared by Ellen DeGeneres and the other shared by Sarah Palin. Although people felt that the backlash from Palin's image was politically motivated and came from liberals, both images received plenty of complaints.
When we see something that we consider "wrong," we should speak up. The problem, as I see it, is the way we offer feedback when we see images of children standing on dogs, riding dogs, and taking food from dogs.
Some people see these images as cute and adorable. However dog lovers like myself see these images and cringe because we anticipate 3 things happening:
- The dog will be injured by the weight of the child either over time or when the child becomes too big and hasn’t been taught that it’s unacceptable to treat a dog like a piece of furniture.
- The dog’s owners will ignore warning signs and fail to prevent their child from being bitten in response to pain when a child stands on their back.
- The dog will be punished or surrendered to rescue and tagged as an aggressive dog after his owners fail to protect him.
A dog’s spine isn’t built to carry the weight of a child. Dog’s aren't naturally tolerant of children. And dogs aren’t trained to tolerate the weight of a child on their back.
From this mindset, I tend to judge the dog owner harshly and unfairly.
2 Things I Learned from Sarah Palin...
E! Online quoted Palin's response to the critics…
“They're not attacking me because I showed people a special needs child and his happy, healthy, beloved service dog; they're attacking me because, well, I'm me.” - E! Online
In reading the comments, I learned a lot from the people who supported Palin and those who criticized the above images.
- Insults don’t inspire people to change their mind or their behavior; they distract from the issue. Our comments should focus on our experience along with any supporting information.
- By engaging in mudslinging, we not only lose the attention of the recipient, but we lose the attention and respect of anyone who is following along.
Social media makes it easier for us to forget to show kindness in the face of what we deem as bad behavior. We've all made poor choices and have escaped the lens of the camera and a subsequent social media blast. This doesn't make our behavior okay, but remembering our own flaws may help us share feedback with more kindness and make a positive difference.
To read more thought son raising dogs naturally, visit Keep the Tail Wagging.