Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Sydney and I Are Still Sorry

Dear Pet Mom of the Black Lab,

Yes, I’m still feeling terrible about what happened on Monday morning. I wouldn’t have been walking down Stinson Street with my dog if the big mowing machine hadn’t been in the way over on the Cushman Trail. I had to turn around and go a different route. I was thinking about my two daughters' birthdays and enjoying a Podcast. 

I saw you and your black Lab coming toward us up the hill. Did you see me pull my dog's leash in tight so we could get past you? I thought we’d be able to sneak by with maybe a growl but I NEVER expected her to snap at your Lab and get fur in her teeth. I’m not sure who was more surprised and shocked; you or me! I have four amazing children who are now all young adults and somehow we made it through the toddler years with no biting incidents .

I totally understand why you were angry. You love your dog and he/she was a “senior” so you are extra protective. I would be very upset if another dog tried to bite mine...

I really need to tell you more than the hand full of ridiculous words that sort of came out of my mouth while you were inspecting your dog to make sure Sydney hadn’t drawn blood...

My dog has never hurt another animal (at least not on a walk when I’ve been with her) and never been aggressive to a person.

Sydney loves people. She lays at my feet, she’s quiet as a mouse when friends come over and she’s my “baby” now that I’m an empty-nester. She’s practically perfect in every way (just like Mary Poppins) except for the shedding and barking at squirrels. 

We adopted her from a Yakima Rescue spot called “Wags to Riches.” I saw her face online and fell in love. (Our beloved yellow lab had passed away a year before.) Sydney is the first non-Lab dog we've ever owned. She's a breed called Australian Kelpie. Once of her traits is she is a herder/protector. To her, I am sort of like "The First Lady of the United States" and she is my secret service body guard.

We don’t know a lot about Sydney’s history, but living in a place with lots of dogs waiting to be adopted can’t have been easy or fun. She probably had to fight to show she was strong. She still has nightmares... Maybe she was often scared of other dogs so she acts aggressive as a way to stay brave?... Her past doesn't excuse her bad behavior, but it does explain it a bit.
When my dog tried to bite yours I was SO angry at her and yet... as a human parent I understand that sometimes kids do rotten things. (We’re all sinners, sometimes we regret our actions and well... dogs will be dogs.)

You probably think I’m a rotten Pet Parent just because my dog snapped. I “snap” sometimes and most people have forgiven me. My husband and I walk Sydney most days, and we'll keep working on socialization. I’m booking her a play date next week at Bed, Bark, and Beyond so she can spend the day around other dogs and re-learn how to co-exist without being aggressive. The caregiver, Justin, is very patient.
If we end up on the same sidewalk someday, I hope you can give us a second chance. Sydney says she's sorry!

Yours Sincerely, 
Sydney’s “Mom”

P.S. I’m including some photos. I thought they might show you how sweet our Sydney can be when she doesn't "feel" threatened or feel like she must protect me.
 The day we adopted Sydney in 2012.
Enjoying the sunshine on our deck.
She gets along with her brother, Tigger the cat.

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