Dogs and kids? Hell no!
I came across a Boston terrier rescue group that will not adopt out dogs to homes with children under age 8, according to its adoption application.
Yikes? No kids?
I understand that all dogs, including Boston terriers, can get a little enthusiastic at times. My Lab mix goes nuts over a tennis ball and could easily knock over a child, for example. Heck, he’s knocked me over. Does this mean all Labs should stay out of homes with kids? Yes. Yes, it does …
These blanket adoption requirements are not helping dogs find homes. Why would a rescue reject an entire group of people from adopting? Why would it assume all Boston terriers are bad with kids?
Isn’t it about matching the right dog with the right home? Isn’t it about responsible dog ownership and responsible parenting? No dog should be trusted 100 percent with a young child. Living with any animal involves some risk.
It reminds me how some rescues and shelters put additional criteria on “pitbull” adopters such as requiring all pitbull adopters to have “experience with the breed,” requiring all pitbull adopters to sign up for mandatory training classes or requiring all pitbull adopters to carry extra insurance.
These kinds of policies send a clear message to the public that certain types of dogs are different, scary or unpredictable. It doesn’t make the general public interested in adopting them.
Rescue groups should be advocating for these dogs. They should be educating the public about how each dog is an individual. Whether the dogs are pitbulls, Boston terriers or Labs, they’re all just dogs!
Some dogs should not go to homes with kids, but the dog’s breed is not a factor. I fostered an American Eskimo who would try to bite kids. Guess what? No kids for him. This doesn’t mean all American Eskimos are bad with kids. It just meant this one was.
As for this Boston terrier rescue group, I wanted to give it a chance to explain its no-kids policy. So, I emailed the group and asked why it believes Boston terriers as a whole can’t live with kids. Isn’t it about responsible parenting? I asked.
A representative responded and said the rescue has a “policy of not placing dogs into homes with children” for a variety of reasons. One reason is because the rescue does not always know the history of the dog or how it will react to children, she said. “They are strong, powerful dogs that love to jump during play and can easily knock down a young child.”
“Bostons are not dogs that like to be manhandled and carried,” she said. Also, they have powerful jaws and “even a playful nip can hurt young fingers.”
She also said a Boston terrier’s protruding eyes are “susceptible to injury from prodding fingers or thrown toys.”
I disagree with all these excuses.
Most dogs are powerful. Most dogs can knock over a child or nip during play. Most dogs don’t like to be “manhandled.” Plenty of dogs with bugged-out eyes have lived safely with children.
Ultimately, the representative used “liability” as the group’s main excuse stating “we simply cannot ask our volunteers to put themselves and their families at risk for the increased potential liability associated with placing any dog (whether we have information on the dog or not) into a home with a young child.”
What a shame.
Plenty of rescue groups successfully adopt out dogs of all breeds to homes with kids. These groups understand it’s about finding the right match, working with the public, encouraging responsible dog ownership, providing resources and sending pets home.
Once a pet adoption group stops adopting out pets to people with children, that group has forgotten its mission. Its members have lost compassion. They have forgotten what it means to love a dog or a cat or a child.