I love seeing kids and dogs together. The dogs I grew up with highlighted my childhood, and to this day I am a total sucker for sentimental kids-and-dogs movies, and have been known to watch reruns of Timmy and Lassie well into adulthood. But even I, as sentimental as I am, know that kids and dogs together can also be disasters waiting to happen. Generally, that's not the fault of either the kids or the dogs. The blame lies squarely with their clueless parents.
Take the two little girls I saw yesterday afternoon while Allie and I were walking. They couldn't have been older than early grade school -- seven years old at most -- but they were walking a bouncy puppy who was at least two-thirds their size, with nary an adult in sight. As I watched them, I was imagining all kinds of worst case scenarios in which they could lose control of that puppy, such as:
-- the puppy getting *really* bouncy and knocking one or both of them over.
-- the puppy seeing a squirrel cross its path and deciding to give chase, dragging one of the little girls behind him.
-- the puppy reacting -- strenuously -- to the barking of either the two dogs whose house they were passing or crossing the street and running afoul of the dog who charges at her fence whenever she sees another canine passing.
I could just see the parents opining that the little girls needed to learn about being responsible, which is why they'd gotten the dog in the first place, yadda yadda yadda. But I found myself hoping that those little girls wouldn't learn instead about what it's like to see their dog die because their parents had no idea what responsibilities to lay on their children and when.