CLEO & MAX
by Nancy Marano
“What are you watching, Max?”
“Those children across the street. They’re teasing Spike, the dog that lives in that house. They shouldn’t do that.”
“You’re right, Max. They might get bitten and then Spike would be blamed. That’s not fair.”
“I wish we could tell them to stop.”
“Let’s find Sally. She can talk to them.”
Cleo and Max went in search of Sally to help them. They found her in the kitchen.
“What can I do for you two?” Sally asked.
Max nudged her leg and then ran to the window. When she didn’t come, he went back and nudged her again. But this time he put in a bark for good measure.
“OK, Max, what’s the problem? What do you want me to do?”
Sally followed Max to the window. She looked out and saw the children teasing Spike. He was running at the fence and barking.
“I see what you wanted, Max. I’ll talk to them.”
Sally went outside and crossed the street.
“Hi,” she said to the children. “You know it isn’t right for you to tease Spike. He’s in his yard, and you’re scaring him. He might bite you.”
“He’s behind the fence. He can’t get us.”
“A dog bite is very serious. It really hurts. You’d have to go to the doctor – maybe even have stitches. It would be much better to treat the dog right in the first place. Do you know how to keep a dog from biting you?”
“I’d just run away.”
“What if the dog started chasing you? He might catch you and bite you anyway. Do you want to know some things you can do to keep from getting bitten?”
“Yes,” said one of the boys. “I don’t want to be bitten by a dog.”
“Here are some easy things to remember.
« Never stare into a dog’s eyes because he thinks you’re challenging him.
« Don’t tease dogs who are behind fences.
« Don’t go near dogs who are chained up in their yards.
« Don’t touch a dog that’s not on a leash.
« If you see a loose dog, tell an adult right away.
« Don’t run and scream if a loose dog comes near you. Instead stand very still and be quiet. Pretend you’re a tree. You also can fall on the ground and cover your face. Pretend you’re a rock. Don’t move.
« Don’t surprise a dog when he or she is sleeping.
« Don’t touch or play with a dog when he or she is eating.
« Only pet a dog if you have the owner’s permission.
« Let the dog sniff your hand first before you pet him or her.
“Wow, that’s a lot to remember.”
“I know it sounds like a lot of rules,” Sally said, “but all it really means is that you show respect for the dog and are kind to animals. Most dogs are friendly and want to be petted. But sometimes dogs are scared or you’re near their food bowl or they are surprised. Then their first reaction is to bite. Try to put yourself in the dog’s place. You wouldn’t want to be teased or startled and neither does a dog.”
“We’re sorry we teased you, Spike. We didn’t understand.”
Sally went back to her house. “Thanks, Max, for letting me know what was happening. I think you deserve a treat for that. You, too, Cleo for helping.”
REMEMBER: OCTOBER IS ADOPT-A-SHELTER-DOG MONTH
You can print and color the pictures.
Our thanks (again) to St. Hubert’s Giralda Animal Welfare and Education Center for the cartoon.
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