It wasn’t until recently that our kids started to appreciate dogs as playful companions. Too many of their past encounters with dogs have been surprising, unexpected and intimidating. While many dogs would let our kids be and keep a distance, it wasn’t uncommon for an off leash dog to rush up to our kids while they were kicking a ball, sitting in a stroller, or enjoying a picnic on the grass. It also wasn’t uncommon for dogs to bark at them when they were climbing on play structures. Or for dog owners to assume our kids would be thrilled when their dogs ran up to them hoping to play.
However, now that everyone is generally keeping 6 feet apart at the park and on neighborhood walks, our kids are seeing how friendly, adorable and funny dogs can be. When we go on walks around the neighborhood, dog owners are giving us plenty of space as they pass by. Our kids now even say hi to dogs across the street knowing that the owner will most likely give us a friendly wave and keep walking. And when we’ve been at the playground this month, our kids are not as worried about dogs running up to them. So far all of the dogs we have seen, both on and off leash, have kept their distance. And it is one of the first times our kids have really enjoyed watching dogs play fetch, roll around on the grass, and happily jump and play with other dogs. From a distance I think it has been much easier for our kids to see just how wonderful dogs can be.
So, thank you, dog owners. Thank you for giving us a little extra space over the last 8 months. Our kids are really starting to adore watching your playful puppies and energetic dogs from afar.