Hey there mommas! Grab some popcorn, I have a good one for you, and it all started this past June 17. As I write these initial thoughts, it’s 11 at night. Here’s my tale of my son surviving a dog bite and how I now aspire to be the village other moms need.
The Splash Pad
I was at a local splash pad with my four year old. I was as prepared a mom as I could be. Sunglasses, hats, sunscreen, chair, water, and snacks, all in my summer bag that has stayed fully stocked. (That’s a win, right?)
Kids were playing. Most parents were on the outskirts of the splash pad, keeping an eye on their kids. A couple parents were right there beside their kid. Out of the ordinary however was a man with a dog. The dog was not only unleashed, but didn’t have a collar. The dog would run up to kids…not aggressively, nonetheless, but some kids seemed scared.
I let my kiddo know to stay away from the dog and just to play with other kiddos. Regardless of my chair being right on the edge of the splash pad, I looked away for one second, and next thing I know….my kiddo is an emotional, bawling mess walking towards me.
The Dog Bite
Turns out he got bit by this dog. He is screaming uncontrollably that “I will not survive this.” I am confused. The owner of the dog is just standing there. But I am focused on my son. I give him the biggest hug I know how to give, and check on his bite. Punctured on both sides of his pointer finger with blood, but not gushing, and my son is a mess. As we are hugging and I am trying to console him, I turn to talk to the owner of the dog.
He’s gone. At this point I see him walking to his car, but my focus is on my son who is more emotional than I have ever seen him. So I did what I thought to do. Gather up all my stuff: chair, bag, kid. I carry him to the car, while telling him he’s being so brave. Even though he is retorting that brave boys don’t cry.
Well, what about brave mommas?
As I shut the car door and made the short trek to my side of the car, I called my mom— yes, a 34-year-old calling her momma—to cry.
The guy…the owner of the dog picked up his dog and ran to his car. I tried to see what kind of car it was, but there were two cars side by side that both pulled out at the same time. Not only did I not get to talk to the dogs owner, but I had no way of knowing if this dog was vaccinated. Not only was this dog not on a leash, but this dog was at a splash pad where no pets were allowed. I didn’t find that out until after the fact.
The Facebook Incident
After going to the emergency room, per the recommendation of our pediatrician, I spent a few minutes posting this story, and an Instagram boomerang that I got five minutes before the biting incident, to multiple mom Facebook groups.
While I was comforted by so many moms who had my back with comments such as, “I would be so mad,” and “No dog should be off the leash,” there were a couple that I wasn’t expecting. The first was, “Well, if you hadn’t have been Boomeranging, then your kid wouldn’t have been bitten.” The second was something along the lines of how I stereotyped the type of dog this was. Mind you, I barely know the difference between a pitbull and a boxer. I in no way meant to push any misconceptions about any type of dog. I’m not a dog owner, but my parents and in-laws have great dogs; I just have no personal experience with them.
The Lessons Learned
Follow Your Gut
My instinct told me that the dog not being on a leash was not right. Hindsight is always 20/20. I wish I would’ve said something to the owner of the dog when I questioned in my head whether that a dog should’ve been on a leash. I could’ve asked him to put his dog on a leash. Had he said no, we could’ve just left.
Mind What You Say
As most comments on my Facebook posts as an FYI to other mommas went out, with the hopes that maybe someone knew this dog or maybe they were there and had videos, I was surprised to find that some moms were beyond judge-y.
Keep in mind that my four year old was an emotional wreck and had just been bitten by a dog. So for these moms to question whether or not I should’ve been boomerang’ing five minutes prior, set me off. I want to challenge myself, and everyone else, that when someone shares something with you, whether or not you agree with it, before you make the comment online, via text or in person, put yourself in their shoes.
Be the Village Other Moms Need
Thinking back to that day and the few minutes that passed so quickly right after the dog bite, I am still so surprised that absolutely no one reached out. No one
- …offered to help me gather my stuff
- …went running after the dog owner, even if just to get a copy of his license plate
- …even said, “Hey momma…are you ok?”
Now, would I have thought to do that prior to this incident? Maybe not. But, you best believe if I see something like this happen in the future to a solo momma and her kiddo, I will see what I can do.
There were at least a dozen other parents around. I was alone. I felt helpless as others just stood there and stared. My village didn’t show up. Maybe they didn’t know how to show up. That is why I am writing this now. To give my advice on what to do if you are ever in the situation I was in.
My son has since seen my parents’ dog and my in-laws’ dog and he loves them just as much as he did before; however, it did hurt my momma heart when he said, “I don’t want to go to the splash pad or I will get bit by a dog.”
I now have a $1200 emergency room visit bill and a kiddo who has yet to go to the splash pad again. I write this as a reminder to myself of what I would do differently if this same thing happened again, but more importantly how to show up and be the village that another momma might need if she finds herself in the same situation I was in.