CAN I PET YOUR DOG? A story of the easiest way to lure kids using a dog as their bait.
By: Jennifer Melendez, www.doggieout.com
As a Dog Walker, I run into a lot of different people, of all ages, including young children who are eager to pet dogs. However, it seems like sometimes children are unsupervised or have not had a proper talk from their parents about the real dangers of being lured by a "stranger" through the easy weapon of a cute dog.
Sometime, somehow, as parents, we need to have that talk. It's better to make them aware, even if they get a little scared, when you talk about it, than them being scared to death once they are in the hands of an adult who seemed friendly and used their dog to lure them, and take advantage of them.
I don't know what organizations are out there addressing this particular issue, especially with dogs. I often see children under the age of 6 at a park, an open field near their house, and maybe someone who may look like a family member or friend. Turns out the kids don't even know their name, and "he lets them pet the dog".
When kids approach me, I always tell them to stay away from strangers, to be with a grown-up, to ask if it's okay to pet a dog, because some dogs don't like children. But all of this could be easily prevented if you or another adult whom you trust is keeping a close eye on your child.
Sometimes the truth is so raw, but it's better for them to know the truth and be involved in a situation that could be easily prevented.
In the video I am posting, here's an example of how easy it is to lure a child with the pretense of a dog needing their attention, from a complete stranger, who is well dressed, looks nice, and is to the naked eye, someone you think you can trust. Or, a wolf in sheep's clothing.
Have your talk today. Don't wait. Even if you're not a parent, I do my best to tell the kids I see, and I do my best to respect their space and limit my time because I don't know them and they don't know me. And I make sure there's an adult supervising them, otherwise I just keep walking my dog, being nice, but they shouldn't be exposed to any kind of unscheduled contact with adults, no matter their gender, age, appearance.
It takes more than a village. Spread the word. Maybe we can save some kids from ending up on an Amber Alert, and you'll be the one who planted the seed of knowledge. Knowledge is power.
As a personal anecdote, when I was about 5 or 6, I was riding my bike on my street. My dad was watching from a distance. Some car got very close to me and was calling me, wanted to ask me something. My heart raced. I ran that bike as fast as I could. You really don't ask a kid that age for directions or anything! Even though my dad was at the end of the street, he doesn't remember any of that happening. I did my best to take care of myself. We use our instinct even at a very young age.
Talk to your kids. If you don't know how to do it, talk to your teachers, doctor, social workers, organizations who work with kids, Like Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Also, have a current picture of your child always at hand. You may have it in your camera, but have a hard print copy on your wallet, in case your phone is stolen or lost.
And have your child get his fingerprints taken, as well as his dental records. Ask your dentist and local police department.
We can't be there all the time, but we can educate them. In the end, we, all of us, are at some point or another, alone, and need to fight for ourselves and by ourselves.
I hope this article will help. The intention is not to panic. The purpose is to prevent a tragedy that will change your child's life permanently, just because they trusted blindly a man or a woman with a dog, a person who looked unsuspecting, but has sick ideas and a clever way to get to kids. Don't let that happen.
Here is a video showing us an example of how easy it is to lure a child using a dog as their bait:
Stay safe! Peace Out and Doggie Out!