Monday, May 30, 2016

Random Rant: Teach Your Kids To Respect Animals, Rules And Guidelines

Today is one of those days where I wish taking a week-long social detox was an option. My social media streams are plastered with the story about the incident that happened a couple of days ago at the Cincinnati, Ohio zoo. A young boy took off and got into the gorilla enclosure. Sadly, the outcome was 17 year old gorilla, Harambe, was fatally shot. Links, memes, opinions, photos, videos, and everything else under the sun relating to this incident, has spread like wildfire.

I'm angry. Fed up. Frustrated. Not just with this story, but with the stories I read week after week after week of innocent animals being put to their death because humans have no respect. And, parents have failed to teach their children to respect wildlife and domestic animals.

Back in April, not too far from where I live, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection euthanized a swan because it was protecting its nest from careless humans. Not too long after, I come across an article about an angry goose attacking and terrorizing a 5 year old girl. The little girl got too close to the babies.

Amid all of this is a myriad of articles and stories about pups having to be put down because "it bit the 2 year old who had been allowed to use the pup as a riding horse" or "it attacked my toddler because she got too close to the food dish."

I've had it. Done. When are people going to wake up?!

At a very young age, like toddler age, my brother and I were taught to respect wildlife. My father was an avid outdoorsy person. We went camping quite a bit. Eventually my parents bought a piece of land at the northern most point of New Hampshire. The land was 3 1/2 miles into the woods. We spent almost every weekend up there. Fishing. Hiking. Watching the moose and bear, and other wildlife, in their natural  habitats.

We watched from a distance. We knew what to look for. We recognized warnings. We knew when it was safe to watch and when we needed to distance ourselves. There wasn't an area of safety measures that my father didn't burn into our little brains.

I remember countless times when my father would warn others (tourists). They had gotten too close. Some of the people had their young children with them. Sometimes they listened. Sometimes they didn't. The ones who didn't listen were often chased after by a moose.

A few times, my father got into altercations with people because they were being down right stupid.

We visited zoos growing up too. Back then, they didn't have the strict safety measures that they do today. My curious mind wanted to pet the gorilla or rub the belly of a bear. However, we knew better. We didn't take off when our parents turned their backs for a second.

We just KNEW.

When it came to family pets, we were always told to not to climb on the dogs or pull the tail of the cats. We were only told once. Most times, we listened. If we didn't, and there were consequences like a deep scratch or bite, it our own fault. No one got angry at the cat or dog. It was us kids who got grounded and had to miss out on fun activities.

What happened between then and now? 

Why are kids allowed to get too close to wildlife or use the family dog as a riding horse or they're escaping and finding their way into zoo enclosures?

It's not just with animals in general. It's everywhere. I've lost count how many times Lisa and I have been in public and have witnessed young children running around the store, up and down aisles, and the parents are nowhere to be found.

If I accidentally crash into one of these kids with my cart and they're injured, is it my fault or the parents?

Lisa and I have been in busy parking lots and have seen small children running around. Where's the parent? Two lanes over, walking slowly because they're looking at their cell phone.

If the child bolts out and gets hit by a car, who's going to be blamed?

During the summer months, I read about kids running around and being obnoxious at public pools. They fall. Get hurt. The parents sue the establishment even though there's a sign that clearly states, "No running."

Lifeguards are there to protect the general public, not to babysit your kids while you sunbathe or text.

The list goes on. And on. And on.

Last year, at a pet event we participated in to feature our Bodacious Biscuit Love, we had Lobo with us. We took him to a lot of events. The last event we took him to, a tween ran up to him and proceeded to pick him up. She didn't ask. Lobo barked. I scooped him up and turned away from the tween. Lisa took Lobo and I whipped around and told this young girl the dangers of running up to a dog like she did. I also informed her that she should never approach a dog without the pet parent's permission.

You know what happened? The parent got snarky with me and let me know that she didn't appreciate me giving her daughter a lecture.

"Too bad. Teach your daughter to respect animals. What she did was wrong."

The lady huffed off with her daughter. Good riddance.

Had I not been watching Lobo, had I turned my back for a mere second, the girl would have picked Lobo up. If Lobo would have nipped her, we would have been at fault. Lobo would be quarantined for 2 weeks and we would have probably been sued.

Since then, we don't bring him to events any longer. We don't bring any of our kids to events. It's not because we don't have control of our kids or we take our eyes off of's because of the above mentioned incident.

Bottom line, stop being lazy. Keep your eyes on your kids. Teach them to respect animals, whether wild or domestic. Teach them to respect rules and guidelines.

Yes, kids have curious and adventurous minds. However, that's no excuse for what's happening. The problem is getting worse. It needs to stop. Now.

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