This post is going to come across as a bit of a rant or a bit patronising, so I apologise in advance – just off a 27 hour flight ☹
As you lot know, the research I carried out on dog bites in Ireland was published a few weeks ago. Since its publication there has been a lot of support, but also a lot of criticism, generally with the same theme – that, regardless of what peer reviewed scientific research says, Joe / Mary’s opinion trumps this research, and, despite what experts with years of studying and experience under their belt have to say, Mary and Joe are right, and the experts are wrong.
Now the journalists are jumping on the band wagon, taking my research, misinterpreting it, and publishing (incorrect) results of the study.
There’s something about dogs that makes everyone an expert! I’m no mechanic, I’ll believe what the mechanics say. I’m do medical expert, I’ll believe what the doctors have to say. I’m no historian, I’ll believe what the historians have to say.
However, if it’s a topic I’m super interested in, and I have the time, I will research the area more to educate myself.
Anyway, back to the issue at hand. I am still being met with two common strong opinions.
Group A, the “yeah, well, some breeds are made to do x, y, or z”.
Group B, the “No matter what you guys have to say, when one of THOSE big dogs go for you, they’ll do way more damage than a smaller dog”.
Let’s look at it with some common sense, shall we? (wow, I’m cranky today!!)
Do you feel nervous around scary dogs?
If so, please take a minute to read this.
So today I got a lovely email out of the blue which got me thinking!
Yelski, my first foster dog, was sent to Sweden 6 years ago, and his owner who adopted him just found me on Facebook and sent me the beautiful picture.
However, the first time I met Yelski I was petrified of him!!
Was he barking? No. Was he jumping up? No. Was he displaying any signs of aggression? No. So why was I scared? Because he was a pitbull (*likely American Staffordshire terrier).
When I first met Yelski I had been working with dogs for about 4 years, and had been studying dogs, and dog behaviour for several years. I had worked with dogs of all shapes and sizes, and was pretty confident in my knowledge that I would know how to spot a dog that was likely to bite.
I had gotten on to Dog Action Welfare Group to let them know that I had the space to foster a couple of dogs. They replied that they had two for me, Frank, a white German shepherd, and Yelski, a pitbull. I said great, and went about my day as they were not due to arrive until about 7pm.
I thought no more of it, and as 7pm ticked ever closer, I finished up my cleaning and waited for the bell to go. Once the dogs arrived, I opened the door with a smile on my face.
The instant I looked at Yelski my blood went cold. My mind went in to autopilot and I remember a voice in my head saying “don’t look him in the eye, don’t look him in the eye”. I tried to have a normal conversation with the lady who dropped them off, but inside I was panicking.
Lots to share !