I was recently approached by a mother who told me her five year old son was hounding her to get a puppy. (Excuse the pun). She was very reluctant as she had read newspapers and watched the evening TV news story about a child who had been attacked by the family dog.
I pointed out to her that, like a lot of other sensational stories, when put into perspective, the number of serious attacks on children is tiny when compared to the total number of dog owning families in the country.
Of course an attack is going to make the news because bad news sells. The newspapers and TV stations are not interested in nice fluffy news stories. They want catastrophes and scandals. They are what get peoples attention. When was the last time you saw a huge headline stating 'BOY AND HIS DOG ARE INSEPERABLE.' And yet children all over the country are having a whale of a time running and playing with the family dog, while the dog is in 7th heaven just being around the kids,
Don't get me wrong, attacks do happen and there is nothing more distressing than seeing a child that has been mauled by a dog. But there are precautions that can be taken, such as educating both the child and the dog, and there are dog breeds that one should perhaps be very wary of when there are small children around. I, for instance, would feel much more comfortable if my kids were playing with a sausage dog than a pit bull terrier. (I can almost hear the pit bull owners howling that 'its not the dog, its the way they are treated.' But still, my sausage dog would do a lot less damage if it turned loopy than a pit bull would. That's just my opinion.)
My point is; dogs can bring so much joy and happiness to a child's life it would be a shame to dismiss the idea of owning one out of hand. It is well documented that dogs can be hugely beneficial to the physical and mental health of the old and infirm. The same goes for kids. To see a small child running and playing with their pet dog, giggling and calling its name as the dog bounds along, its tail wagging furiously, it's a sight to warm the heart. A dog will never tease your child. Will never push them over and pinch their bike. Will never make fun of the way they look or what colour their skin is. They will just be happy to tag along and hear their name occasionally. And when your child is sick, the dog won't care. It will still be happy to sit by the child's bed and keep him company until they can go out and play again.
That sort of devotion is not only a thing of beauty but incredibly hard to find.
Kids love dogs. Dogs love kids. Think about it. You won't regret it.