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A biting family issue |

Health And Family

A biting family issue

MOMMY TALK - MOMMY TALK By Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan -
I’m a mom of four living in Virginia. Two days ago, our 14-year-old arthritic dog bit my youngest disabled daughter‘s face when she tried to pet him.

He punctured her face and her cheeks bled. My mother’s instincts kicked in and I had the dog humanely euthanized because he had already tried to nip my daughter in the past but was unsuccessful.

Maricel, I wasn’t prepared for the reactions of my three adult kids ages 21, 20, and 18. They cried like little children. The scene was ugly.

My oldest daughter cried all night long and my other son didn’t come home last night. I’m tearing apart inside.

I am not Cruella de Ville, but if a dog attacks a family member, he is out of here.

No amount of rational reasoning can console them. I’m like,"Hello! the dog almost tore off your disabled sister’s cheeks."

But they don’t see that at all! I took care of the dog for 14 years – fed, bathe, and took him for walks. When they come home from school, they don’t even notice him!

What would you have done if you were in my shoes?


Thank you for taking time to write me a letter. Your letter came around the same time we were advised to put our 14-year-old Beagle to sleep because she became very ill and developed arthritis just like your dog. My immediate concern was my children who I know would be very much affected if we decided to put Martha (that’s the dog’s name) to sleep.

We then all sat together as a family and put the issue on the table to see what the children have to say about the idea of putting our dog to sleep so that she may be go gracefully and pain-free. After everybody shared their views, we put the matter to rest for a while, said a prayer, and slept on it. We then came together again to affirm our decision, which we all mutually agreed on as a family. Since our beagle has gotten so much better since her illness, we will sit down again to decide on what we will eventually do about the idea of putting her to sleep.

You see, Emy, your children are mourning because of the loss of a loved one. Though you may have valid reasons to put the dog to sleep, having denied them of their right to know about your decision, before you hastily acted upon your impulse, also hurt them. I’m sure they grieve for their sister, but they also grieve for the dog they have loved all these 14 years. They also grieve over the fact that they had no say on the matter.

I’ve learned as a young mother that my children, though very young, are important members of my home. So, I give them the chance to express their views on matters that I know are significant to them before I make decisions on certain matters. That way, they feel valued and I gain more support for the outcome rather than being the center of blame for whatever comes out of my decision.

I suggest you sit down with your children and admit your hurt and ask them also about how they feel and in what way they are hurting.

Perhaps that would enable each one of you to express what’s in your heart. Hopefully, if you come together in the right spirit of humility and love, that will help resolve your conflict and lead you to forgive one another. Perhaps, by empathizing with your children’s hurt, they may also empathize with your hurt as a mother.

I wish you all the best!

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