Jewish Journal


September 17, 2009

The Truth About Kids And Dogs



Leashes for children.  How convenient, right?  Moms are too busy shopping at the mall or chatting on their cell phones to worry about where their child is at all times, so why not just put a leash on him?  It just makes sense, because when moms are in the middle of that important phone call about the latest nail colors, they shouldn’t be interrupted.  They can simply tug on the leash and pull their child back towards them.  Even a quick run into Coffee Bean to score that chai latte is possible.  Simply tie your child to a table outside.  (Don’t forget to leave a bowl of water if it’s hot).

Absurd, right?  Just because something is convenient, that doesn’t make it justified.  Communication?  Discipline?  Hand-holding?  Keeping an eye on your child the whole time?  Are all these things overrated?

I think we’ve crossed the line between dogs and children.  We now have dog parks where owners can unleash their dogs.  Some might argue that we have parks where children are unleashed as well, so I’ll give them that much.  Then there’s the doggy stroller dilemma.  Does one carry their teacup Chihuahua in a sequined duffel bag or push them in a doggy stroller?  And why is this always at the mall? Doesn’t putting a dog in a stroller emasculate them, for one?  Could you see a rottweiler or pit bull in a doggy stroller?  And what is the purpose anyway?  They need to nap?  They haven’t learned to walk yet?  Aren’t these the reasons strollers were invented in the first place…for babies, the human kind?  But I’m getting off topic a little here…back to leashes for kids.

I’m not a big fan of leashes, if you couldn’t tell.  And the fact that the leash, a.k.a. harness, is attached to Elmo or a teddy bear on the child’s back doesn’t make it any more acceptable.  What next, a muzzle?

I was at the mall the other day, where leashes seem to be the norm, and noticed a mom on her cell phone holding a leash attached to what appeared to be a child.  (I couldn’t really tell, because this leash extended so far out, it was hard to see whom it was attached to.)  Mom was conveniently shatting (shopping and chatting) and tugging at the leash every so often until it would hurl the toddler back to her.  Like a yo-yo.  At this point I could tell it was a child, when she was flung back to her mother.  I decided to wait for mom to finish the call and asked her why she decided to leash her child.  Her first response was, “My friends suggested it.”  Oh, O.K., so that explains a lot.  I pushed further.  “I just don’t have time to keep track of her.  And this way she won’t run away.”  So, the message she is giving her daughter is: You will not run away from me, because you can’t.  If this is her philosophy, I’d hate to see the type of leash she has on her husband.

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