I love when people email me about their experiences at dog friendly places around Cleveland, but I especially love when it’s someone who lives out of town!
I received this email over the weekend about a visitor’s recent trip to CLE. Although they are former residents, they now reside in NYC. Here’s what they had to say about their dog friendly trip to Cleveland:
We stayed at the Westin downtown and they are AMAZING with dogs. There is no deposit for dogs regardless of number or size. They also sent up a feather down dog bed along with dishes for Alma to use during our stay. They were so accommodating, I often sat in the lobby on one of the couches with Alma reading my book or in the Starbucks in the building and no one had any issues. We also sat out on the patio at the restaurant Urban Farmer and they were good as well.
For dinner – Greenhouse Tavern on E. 4th was great with Alma. We leave her in a chair next to us so she stays in one place, and they were great with her!
We also had dinner at Fahrenheit in Tremont – all were wonderful with the dog.
A great brunch at Luxe followed by some chillin’ at Pour on Euclid. They are both AWESOME with dogs.
My sister and her husband’s dog, Bailey, was a calm, very well-behaved dog. Not the type of dog you’d ever expect to bite someone. But one day while he was left alone for just a minute with their 1 year old daughter, he bit her face. As a baby who didn’t know any better, she probably got in his face and he got scared and reacted in the only way he knew how. The bite was fairly minor and no real damage was done – except that they didn’t feel that they could keep Bailey in their house anymore (he went to live with someone else). It was a sad, very difficult situation for my sister and her husband, and something that I wouldn’t want anyone to have to go through.
I’ve seen my dog Hunter be pushed around and hugged by small children, but I always try to intervene. Although I do think it is unlikely based on his nature that Hunter would bite, I can’t say it’s impossible. If a dog feels frightened, you can’t be sure how he or she will react. It is imperative, no matter how friendly you think your dog is, to monitor babies and dogs closely. And as children around your dog get older, to teach them the proper way to approach dogs.
This week is National Dog Bite Prevention Week, so I’ve been seeing a lot of articles on how to prevent dog bites. One interesting thing I just read is that Ohio has the second highest number, 1,009, of homeowners insurance liability claims related to dog bites* (California has the highest at 1,867), so it seems some education is needed here.
Since most dog bites involve children, educating them about proper interactions with dogs is probably one of the most important keys to preventing dog bites. State Farm and Victoria Stilwell put together a quiz asking children ages 5-9 about common dog behaviors to see what they understood about dog body language. The quiz, probably not surprisingly to many of us, uncovered that children have a lot to learn about interacting with dogs.**
Image courtesy of State Farm and Victoria Stilwell
Based on how often children on the street run up to my dogs and want to pet them, this does not surprise me. I often have to quickly tell them that Roscoe does not want to be pet (I think he will definitely bite), but if he was a more aggressive dog it would probably be too late. It’s important for kids to be aware that even cute little dogs can bite and that very few dogs like to have hands near their face or be approached in a hyper manner. Some other things to teach children about interacting with dogs:
Most dogs do not like to be hugged or kissed. In general, you should avoid putting your hands or face near a dog’s face you don’t know
Children should never approach a dog who is eating, since some dogs are food aggressive
Don’t approach a dog in an enclosed area or put your hands on the other side of the fence or in an enclosed area a dog is in
If you have a child in your life that needs to learn proper behavior around dogs, the American Veterinary Medical Association’s “spokesdog” Jimmy the Dog put together this video (it’s a little cheesy, but kids like this kind of stuff right?) you may want to show them:
Have you talked to the children in your life about the proper way to interact with a dog?
This is the latest installment in The Dog Owner Files, where CLE dog owners tell their stories. This post is written by Amanda Meriwether, a dog owner, new Mom and blogger at Cleveland Mommy Diary (http://clevelandmommydiary.blogspot.com/)
I have a five (soon to be six) year old Spanish Water Dog (cousin to the more well-known breed Portuguese Water Dog). His name is Bruiser. He was the cutest puppy you ever did see and he’s still a pretty cute dog. Anytime I am out walking him I get stopped by at least one person to ask me what kind of dog he is. He loves the water, especially swimming and jumping in the waves. My husband, Sam, and I love him to pieces. That said, he is a bit of a challenging dog at times. He is wary of strangers (something the breed is known for), still has the occasional accident in the house, and is high maintenance. When I found out I was pregnant I remember one of the first things that crossed my mind was, ‘I wonder how Bruiser will be with the baby?’ This thought consumed me day in and day out. ‘What if he tries to eat the baby?’ ‘What will I do with him?’ I worried about it nonstop for exactly 40 weeks.
Then Charlotte was born. She was our first baby – a girl. We didn’t know what we were having so the surprise was just fantastic. The minute I saw her I fell in love. It’s a feeling I can’t explain. Sam and I felt so lucky and blessed to have such a healthy and happy baby in our lives. Although she was perfectly healthy, Charlotte was kept in the NICU for 48 hours. This was something we hadn’t planned for – we were expecting to go in, have a baby, and come home. We hadn’t made arrangements for anyone to take care of Bruiser for 48 hours. Luckily my mom and sister stayed at my house one of the nights, Sam’s dad let him out the first night I was in labor, and Sam went home periodically throughout the two days to let him outside. Luckily the hospital was only 15 minutes away.The day we were allowed to take Charlotte home, I was thrilled. Finally they took the wires off of her fragile body and I could hold her free and clear. As I dressed her in her tiny going home outfit, I again thought of Bruiser. Sam had taken the hospital blanket home earlier that day to let Bruiser sniff it and “get the scent” so the experts suggest. When I asked Sam what Bruiser did when he showed him the blanket he replied, “He tried to eat the blanket.” Oy. Not what I wanted to hear.
This story has a happy ending. Bruiser and Charlotte are best friends. Bruiser absolutely loves her. The first night we brought her home, he did bark at her once. We corrected him instantly and that was it. I remember sitting in the glider in the nursery holding her, and Bruiser jumped up. I saw his mouth open and thought “Oh no” and then I saw his big, pink tongue come out as he licked the top of Charlotte’s head. I breathed a sigh of relief.
I’ve heard people say that dogs just get it. And it’s true. At least that’s been my experience. Bruiser understands that Charlotte runs the house now and he has accepted his place as her sidekick. He still follows me all around the house, whines at me for a treat, or barks loudly just as I’ve gotten Charlotte to sleep. I won’t sugarcoat it: there are definitely some trying times ahead if you have a needy dog and a newborn baby. But there will be some awesome moments too. I remember a particularly rough day during the first month – Charlotte was being extremely fussy, I was sleep deprived and hadn’t gotten out of the house in over a week. I was on the verge of losing it. Sam came to my rescue and told me to get out of the house for a couple hours. I was so tired though, all I wanted to do was rest. As I took a quick snooze on the floor in her nursery (because I didn’t have the energy to move), I heard the door open. It was Bruiser. He plopped down beside me and just looked at me with his big, brown eyes as if to say, “I understand. I’m with you.”
Bruiser isn’t the best dog. He certainly has his flaws, but then again, so do I. The best thing about having a dog is that they’ve seen the absolute ugliest side of you and love you anyway. And all you can do is love them back.
Tips for parents that own a dog and have a baby on the way:
First of all, congratulations! Get your dog involved right from the get go – include them in the birth announcement video or photo announcement.
Arrange to have someone watch your dog while you’re in the hospital. Plan on being in the hospital for at least 48 hours that way you are prepared in case something unexpected happens.
Fence your yard if it’s not already fenced. This was a big chunk of change we dished out, but so worth it when your dog starts imitating your baby’s sleep patterns and has to pee at 2 a.m.
Ask family and friends for help with the dog. If you have friends or family that live close by, ask them to help you walk the dog or watch the baby for 30 minutes so you can walk the dog. Keeping your dog active goes a long way in maintaining a healthy and sane home.
Don’t force the baby on the dog. Let the dog come to the baby and warm up to the baby on the dog’s own terms. It may not happen the first night or even the first week. Give your dog time to adjust to the new pecking order in the house.
Realize that you will get mad at your dog and that’s OK. It’s not OK to yell at a tiny, helpless baby. It is OK to yell at your dog who knows better than to pee in the house.
Try to keep your current schedule as much as possible. When I was pregnant, I walked Bruiser every single evening. When I was home on maternity leave, I put Charlotte in a baby sling and walked Bruiser every morning. I really think it helped them to develop a bond and an awareness of each other.
Be realistic about what you can do. You’re going to be tired, and you’re going to get cranky. Make time for yourself so you can take better care of your family.
Editor’s Note: I absolutely loved how Amanda incorporated Bruiser into her birth announcement on Facebook, check out her video: