What a fun crowd! Dozens and dozens of kids and their parents visited the Durham Regional Hospital booth, where Buddy the Dog and I taught them the right way to meet a dog. Each time a child was able to state the ABCs of Dog Safety and role play them with me and Buddy, they earned a sticker, a hand stamp, or a toy for their dog at home. And I got to hear stories from kids about how they had been bitten by dogs, about their favorite dogs, and about their dog friends at home, like China the red nosed pitbull and the blue heeler rescued from the shelter. I even learned how to ask, “May I pet your dog?” in Chinese. One of the babies pictured in Happy Kids, Happy Dogs visited the booth with his parents and younger brother; how time flies. Older kids and their parents got a kick out of reading Don’t Lick the Dog, and soon I will contact the winner of the raffle of Happy Kids, Happy Dogs.
If you didn’t have a chance to stop by the booth, here are the ABCs of Dog Safety:
Ask, “May I pet your dog?” before you touch a dog. Always ask, even if you know the dog and even if you think the dog looks friendly.
Be a tree.
Stand still with arms at your side. If the dog does not come closer, do not touch. If the dog comes close to you, then the safest place to pet is the chin or chest.
Chin or chest is where you should pet.
Do not hug or kiss a dog or hold your hand out toward his nose (the dog can already smell you). Those motions can scare a dog and lead to a bite. If the dog comes close to you, stroke under the chin or on the chest. If he doesn’t come close, count his spots or admire his collar, but don’t touch.
It was an all-around great day. Next year I hope to make it over to the face painting booth…