Riley is a sweetheart. Let me just say that up front. His favorite thing in the world is snuggling, and when one of us is sick, he never leaves our side.
I was sick, and Riley laid next to me on the pillow all night.
We are never entirely sure what he might do. I suppose you don't ever know what a dog might do - they are animals, after all, and I think sometimes we forget that. But seeing my dog go after another dog, snarling and teeth bared, is not an image I am likely to forget. This has happened so far three times that I know of, and as a consequence, Riley is not allowed at any family gatherings where there might be dogs.
This is Riley's exact expression when around other dogs.
He has also growled at my 5-year-old niece...repeatedly and for long amounts of time. Though Riley is kept in a back bedroom if she ever visits, I still hate the fact that my niece is afraid of my dog.
Something also happened that I haven't been wanting to admit - Riley bit me. I was just getting ready to start working out, and Riley was laying on the couch in his usual pose, curled up on his side. Now, as all you dog lovers know, a cuddly dog can be pretty irresistible, and I couldn't help myself - I had to snuggle him! As I did so, I took a deep noseful of that doggie smell - don't act like you don't do the same! - imitating the snuff-snuff-snuff sound Riley does when he is sniffing us.
I mean, just try not cuddling this. Just try!
I don't know why - I was just being silly, I guess. But Riley had been sleeping deeper than I thought, and I suppose he thought there was another dog sniffing at him. Whatever the case, he snarled and lunged for the side of my face. It all happened very fast, and had I not turned my head in time, I have no doubt the bite could have drawn blood or done some damage. As it was, he had only grazed my temple.
I collapsed on the floor and sobbed, loud and drawn-out, like I had just lost my best friend - in a way, in that moment, I thought I had. Riley just stared at me, tilting his head at my crazy noises; I don't think he had any idea what was going on. I had a goose-egg on the side of my head for a week that was tender to the touch; any time I would brush my fingers over it, I would wince and remember that terrifying growl in my ear.
Of course I still love Riley...of course he is still my best friend. But there's always something in the back of my head that warns me to be careful around him, to watch what I do. I feel so guilty that something in me is frightened of my sweet boy, and I have to say, I am kind of wary of admitting it to my readers.
Not Riley...just another mommy-biter! ;)
But what do you do? What do you do if your beloved pet hurts you? If anyone has any of their own stories/"dog mom confessions", I'd love to hear from you.