The Phoenix Files: The Mouse That Roared

The Phoenix Files
The Mouse That Roared

I have not, nor will I ever, bite someone. I say that in all sincerity and filled with the best of intentions. My training, my upbringing, my very gentle nature and eagerness to please would never let me do that sort of thing. I'm a darn good dog. I've got Lab in me. Biting someone would go against every fiber of my being.
So how is it that dogs bite over two million persons in the US each year? There can't be that many bad dogs out there. Sure, I may have growled a little, perhaps even snarled a bit, maybe even showed a little teeth...but never, never oh never, have I taken a bite out of someone, left an indentation, let alone drew blood. But they say, never say never. They say that no dog is absolutely, positively, 100% guaranteed not to bite. I guess not even me. I suppose there could be something to that.
Take a look at my human companion. She prides herself on not being a "yeller" and by nature, she isn't. I'm proud of her. She typically has lots of patience and exercises more productive means of conflict resolution than resorting to loud screams, the stomping of feet or episodes of extreme pouting. Speaking in a calm, rational voice, she will typically outline options, engage others in productive discussions and prefers to work things out in a very peaceful manner. Those are the rules of engagement by which she (almost always) abides.
But there was that one time...that one Saturday morning when the stars aligned just so. Or perhaps the moon was full. The children awoke in awful moods. All of them. Not one. Not two...but all three. All three got up on the wrong side of the bed and the result was sheer bedlam. There was non-stop spatting. Nit picking. Teasing. Sassiness and nastiness. Shouting back and forth. I think it's safe to say that what they call "sibling rivalry" was at an all time high that morning. Brother against brother; sister against brothers. Insults were flying and voices were getting louder and louder and louder. There was stomping up steps. There was stomping down steps. Doors were slamming. Tension filled the air. I myself ran for cover. And then I heard it. For the first time in all of my nine years, I heard her yell. And boy did she yell. Things had gotten to the boiling point. Her buttons had been pushed. She could stand no more and it happened. The mouse that roared.
So I figure...gee, if it could happen to her, it could happen to anyone, I suppose. And if it could happen to any one, I guess it would also stand to reason that it could happen to any dog...under the right (or wrong) circumstances. Pestered beyond my limits. Yeah. That might do it. Having little fingers poke and prod me, jabbing at my eyes or digging in my ears. Having someone ride me like a horse. That would be terribly unpleasant.
Hmmm. And, I must admit that I am very protective of the territory we call home. The house, the yard. Quite frankly, I don't like strangers in it. Put a stranger on my turf and instinctively, I want to preserve and protect the status quo. If provoked, by an odd smell, or if I detect a bad attitude, well...could you blame me?
I guess the bottom line is if you respect me (and other dogs) and dogs are taught to be respectful of others, and together we remain ever mindful of some potentially tenuous situations and avoid those trouble spots, well...we just might bring that troubling dog bite statistic down a bit. Anything is possible. Next time, I'll clue you in on ways to help prevent dog bites.

The Humane Society of Washington County exists to improve the quality of life for abused, neglected, and unwanted animals. 13011 Maugansville Road, Hagerstown, MD. 301-733-2060.