Another mother yelled at me at bus stop - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-30-2006, 02:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We were waiting for the bus this morning and one of my neighbors came to the bus with a pit bull they had just gotten. She is pregnant and still smokes - her son is very aggressive - she leaves her 18 month old outside unattended despite living on a busy road...not to mention she has a terrible temper. That being said, I always say good morning and make polite small talk.

Well, today she shows up with the pit bull and I asked whether it was a pit bull and she launches into this lecture on how nice they really are, if people would only research the breed, etc. etc. etc. So I said that my bil had one and it was very nice with us, but ended up attacking my dog. (We never let the kids near this dog) About this time my kids join all the other kids who are surrounding the dog and I said to my kids "B & B, please come over here, I don't want you petting that dog" in a very level voice.

She yells "That really offends me" and starts muttering nasty things about me.

So I said "I am much less worried about offending you than making sure nothing happens to my kids"

So she says a whole bunch of stuff which in summary was "Any dog can snap and you are being overprotective and are a rude person"

Then I took a deep breath and said "You know you are right any dog can snap and that is why I never bring my golden retriever to the bus stop. I think you are wrong to be offended because we have plenty of friends who are afraid of dogs and I am never offended when they don't want to be around my dog. I understand that people have had different experiences and I don't think you should be offended because I am not comfortable with my kids petting your dog" to which she said

"Well, I am offended you stuck-up bitch" and stormed off.

To which I took the bait and yelled "Oh, grow-up"

I am really freaked out. I get along great with everyone at our bus stop --- my friend was horrified by the whole incident and one of the fathers who was there was like "Hey, it is a pit bull" but I did pick up the vibe he thought I shouldn't have said anything. I am so upset that I fought with this woman with my children there and that I am going to have to deal with this woman. I just can't believe it escalated like that --- I really asked ds in a nice voice not to pet the dog --- how could that make her that pissed off?

What do you ladies think. Should I go to her house and try to create some peace before our kids get off the bus? Should I have not said anything until I had my kids alone? I am really second guessing myself and terribly upset.

Advice?
BJ
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Old 08-30-2006, 02:32 PM
 
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........I am paranoid, I admit, but any dog around my kid(s) when he was smaller made me VERY UNCOMFORTABLE. (preg now, thats why I said kid, and kids, as this wont change )

I dont think you were wrong in ANY way. She created her own offense. not everyone on the planet has to feel comfortable around any dogs.
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Old 08-30-2006, 02:36 PM
 
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Whoa- I think she was out of line, getting all bitchy because you told your children not to pet her dog. I'm not sure there's any way to smooth things over with her- and going over there would mean exposing yourself to her pit bull, right?

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
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Old 08-30-2006, 02:36 PM
 
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wow...I think you handled it quite well...

Some people! :

I might have lost it......
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Old 08-30-2006, 02:39 PM
 
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I agree with the PP.. We all regret our reactions at times. But, when it comes down to the well-being and safety of your children, you have to do what is right. I think "making nice" would probably be futile as she sounds (to me) like she is looking for conflict anyway. I usually steer clear of overly-aggressive people anyway. However, I do not fully understand the implications for your children so... Big hugs to you as you work through this.

On a side note, I don't think people fully understand the reality of others' fear of dogs. My son in particular is very afraid of them. He only is comfortable around dogs he knows very well.

Hugs hugs hugs..

Karen
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Old 08-30-2006, 02:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by PortraitPixie
wow...I think you handled it quite well...

Some people! :

I might have lost it......
Yeah, what she said.

All things considered, i think you did a great job staying level headed.

Some people never cease to amaze me...(I mean that in both good and bad ways, lol)
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Old 08-30-2006, 02:40 PM
 
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You have every right as a parent to be concerned about your children's well being. And asking them not to pet a strange dog should not offend the owner. I'm sure you would have been concerned with any breed, so I personally would not have taken it as discriminatory...but maybe Pit owners are so used to defeding the breed that they are easily offended, not to mention it sounds as if this lady has a short fuse anyway.

Perhaps just to be the bigger person you can go over and tell her, since it was a "new" dog to your children in that environment you wanted to be cautious and that once you and your children know the dog better perhaps you will supervise them as they interact with her dog. And remind her - that is your position no matter who the dog owner is and what breed the dog is. It doesn't sound as if you want to be chums with this lady, but the fact that you will be seeing her regularly leads me to think its in your best interest to get the tension out of the way. If she isn't receptive at least you'll know you tried.
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Old 08-30-2006, 02:41 PM
 
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Um..well you are well within your rights to tell your children not to pet the dog. Based on your previous experience with this woman, it doesn't appear as if she'd be the type to be the responsible, cautious pet owner that pit bulls require. Pit bulls are a dog the require an owner that is fully aware of their capabilites and has done plenty of breed research. Based on the fact that she lets her 18 month old out unsupervised by a busy street, I'm betting she's not going to be too responsible with the dog. I always warn my children never to touch or approach animals that they don't know. It's just a safety precaution.

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Old 08-30-2006, 02:44 PM
 
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I own two very sweet dogs, but they can also react unexpectedly at times. Children should always be taught to ask the owner before approaching a dog and petting it.

There are ways to approach a dog that are appropriate, and ways that make the dog feel threatened...and some dogs are just on a hair-trigger. This is important for all people to know. I am actually very uncomfortable with people just coming up to my dogs and petting them without asking because they don't know if my dogs are friendly to strangers or not.

I think you took absolutely appropriate action. If I had been the dog handler, I would have stood behind your decision -- you are the parent, after all -- and helped by explaining to the kids that it can be dangerous to pet an unknown dog.

I try to model how to approach a dog when we are at the park and a child wants to pet one of ours, explaining what is proper and what is not. I figure, if they learn with my dogs, who are laid back and love the attention, then they'll know what to do and can avoid confrontation with more skittish dogs.

This lady is just defensive, I would guess, because she owns a breed with a bad reputation (thanks to stupid owners who train mean looking dogs to be mean). I'd let it go. She really should be more sensitive to the fact that she owns a particular breed that makes people nervous, even dog lovers.
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Old 08-30-2006, 02:46 PM
 
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I am terrified of pitbulls. I was run at and followed by one when I had my two year old in the stroller and a 6 month old in the backpack. I was terrified. My dog was attacked by one when I was a kid. I understand that there are nice ones out there.... I don;t think that one should ever be brought around a large group of kids... kids are so unpredictable, and you dont know what will set any dog off. We have a no petting policy in our house, unless you ask the owner first. Even then I have taught the kids how to approach a dog properly.

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Old 08-30-2006, 02:47 PM
 
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Well, as a parent of an almost-six-year-old who screams and tries to climb up on me at the sight of a dog... I think you were in the right to tell her not to bring her dog to the bus stop. I know that's not exactly what you said, though.
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Old 08-30-2006, 02:50 PM
 
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I am going to go out on a limb here.

She might like to provoke confrontations.

She might (I know this sounds illogical) like you better now that you have reacted to her.

You will just have to see.

Divorced mom of one awesome boy born 2-3-2003.
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Old 08-30-2006, 02:51 PM
 
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I hate confrontation too, but I always seem to find it. :

I really do not like this woman, and I have no idea who she is.

You have every right to tell your kids to stay away from a dog, any dog, or any animal for that matter. And this is comming from me, an animal rights activist!

Children are our responsibility to protect, all children, our's or not.

This woman is a creepy character, smokes while pregnant and not looking after her little baby. I do not know how to make nice with people. I am having a hard time with my neighbors as well. I have a current post about it.

Just know that you were kind and that you were right in protecting your chindren.

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Old 08-30-2006, 02:52 PM
 
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Hmmm, I ALWAYS tell my 4 yr old dd NOT to pet dogs we don't know. I thought that was a common thing to do. I can't imagine why she freaked out at you like that.

Your kids started school already? In MN, we always start the day after labor day.

~Tracy

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Old 08-30-2006, 02:53 PM
 
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I don't think you did anything wrong at all. Even the part where you said "grow up" was ok because she was acting childish to call you names. I don't think you owe her an apology, if anyone should apologize it is her. My DS is 3.5 and I don't let him pet any dogs we do not know. EVER. I've had bad experiences with dogs as a child and I'd rather errr on the side of caution.

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Old 08-30-2006, 02:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Village Mama
I am terrified of pitbulls. I was run at and followed by one when I had my two year old in the stroller and a 6 month old in the backpack. I was terrified. My dog was attacked by one when I was a kid. I understand that there are nice ones out there.... I don;t think that one should ever be brought around a large group of kids... kids are so unpredictable, and you dont know what will set any dog off. We have a no petting policy in our house, unless you ask the owner first. Even then I have taught the kids how to approach a dog properly.
I am, too.

In our little neighborhood, two people have pits that scare the daylights out of me. We all share a yard, as it is duplexes with the backs to each other. One if pretty nice and the owner controls it well. But one neighbor lets his huge pitbull run around unsupervised and unleashed. Almost every time I go outside it tries to attack my puppy before we have to flee inside. The poor girl is getting scared to pee. And it has scratched me pretty badly to get to my puppy.

The other day it started attacking the new neighbors moving in across my way. The guy came outside and was like "he's nice, he won't hurt you, dude". ANd the new neighbors (rightly) freaked out on him. I have talked to the guy, and then 10 minutes later it's doing it again.

I would call the humane society, but I don't want the good neighbor to get her pit taken or banned when it is actually decent.

Sorry for the rambling, but I think that the OP did the right thing. I would have probably freaked out if it was my own children. I do not take dogs-especially agressive breeds-lightly around children. They may not try to hurt, but they can. I have been attacked by a fair share of "nice" dogs in my life.

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Old 08-30-2006, 02:57 PM
 
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I think you acted wonderfully, you did a great job sticking up for your beliefs. I find that oftentimes, most people can't handle confrontation but that doesn't mean it's not good to have. That woman is completely wrong. How irresponsible for her to bring her dog (any dog really) into a group of kids but IMO especially a pitbull. :

I'd be tempted to call someone about it...

Quote:
Originally Posted by wildmonkeys
a pit bull they had just gotten
I just re-read the OP. This was a dog THEY HAD JUST GOTTEN. This woman has NO F$&*ing idea what that dog is capable of. Would animal control give her a good talking to over the incident? Was the dog even on a leash?
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Old 08-30-2006, 02:59 PM
 
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So I said "I am much less worried about offending you than making sure nothing happens to my kids"
I think you were well within your rights and acted appropriately. I love that you were able to come up with the above comment in the heat of the moment! It speaks to the heart of the matter - you were concerned for the well-being of your children above all else. If doing what we know is best for our children makes other people uncomfortable, that's unfortunate, but that's their issue, not yours. Your children saw you sticking up for their welfare, and that's not a bad thing. Hopefully, they will still be able to get along with her children in spite of this incident (kids seem to forgive and forget much more easily than adults, anyway!). I think you have nothing to second guess yourself about!
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Old 08-30-2006, 02:59 PM
 
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Yeah, I think that woman was waaaay outa line. Good grief. I've heard so many stories about dogs attacking children - and not always "bad" dogs either! Kids and dogs together are not always a great mix.

I don't think you should walk on eggshells around this woman, but try to let her words and behavior roll of your back. It doesn't sound like she's about to change any time soon.
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Old 08-30-2006, 02:59 PM
 
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As an owner of two dogs, one of whom is a pit mix, I make sure I"m considerate of others feelings. I also teach my own dd not to approach ANY dog, large or small, without the owner's consent and my being right there. It's a safety issue.

Yes, pit owners tend to be hypersensitive. We can't help it. that does not excuse her calling you a bitch though.

I do think that you were reasonable in asking your children not to pet the dog. I make it a point not to trust any dog not my own. Period.

it may be helpful to talk to her later when things cooled down and explain that you would feel that way about any dog, any breed.
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Old 08-30-2006, 03:01 PM
 
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I would not go make nice. I would be polite at the bus stop if its possible.

I don't let my daughter around any new, and some familiar dogs. Her reaction is not uncommon for some reason. I am not sure why people get offended that I wont let thier dogs in my childs face.
I do not let my very well trained, baby loving dog in anyones face. It is not acceptable, or necessary, and what if something did set her off? what then?
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Old 08-30-2006, 03:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by RiverSky
I think you acted wonderfully, you did a great job sticking up for your beliefs. I find that oftentimes, most people can't handle confrontation but that doesn't mean it's not good to have. That woman is completely wrong. How irresponsible for her to bring her dog (any dog really) into a group of kids but IMO especially a pitbull. :

I'd be tempted to call someone about it...
Call who about what?

Seriously, calling the authorites can creating a horrible situation ie CPS getting involved over nothing.

If the dog is aggressive, by all means, talk to someone about it, but jumping the gun can hurt her family.
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Old 08-30-2006, 03:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by wildmonkeys

What do you ladies think. Should I go to her house and try to create some peace before our kids get off the bus? Should I have not said anything until I had my kids alone? I am really second guessing myself and terribly upset.

Advice?
BJ
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Go to her house, NO. She may start even more crap with you, perhaps even become violent with you.

I would just talk to her at the bus stop in front of others. Explain to her your concerns, and that it was NOT an attach on her as a person... kwim
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Old 08-30-2006, 03:05 PM
 
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I am never offended that parents sometimes call their children away from me or pull them to cross the street when I am walking my two Rottweilers. Atleast mom is doing something to prevent a potential problem. Its great that you teach your children to not pet strange dogs. Any breed can bite if they are injured or frightened. I have only been bitten by small dogs (other than trying to break up a fight between MIL's german shepard and my rottie- what was I thinking? The german shepard got me pretty bad.) but ALL dogs can bite. What gets me mad is seeing kids walking down the street sticking their hands over the top of fences and through fences to pet dogs, even dogs that are barking! I guess they don't have a mommy that taught them to not do that.
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Old 08-30-2006, 03:05 PM
 
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That woman sounds really aggressive. it's good you stuck your ground. I would avoid speaking with her but if she says something you should respond but don't try to be necessarily overly nice or polite (just matter of fact). People like that don't operate on a civilized level typically. I know because we moved into a neighborhood with a real undesirable family with an aggressive dog. We've been the best off by defending our child, calling animal control whenever something comes up and not being bullied by them. Some people like to feel they have the upper hand and enjoy seeing others uncomfortable or fearful. It's been a real eye opening and disturbing experience for us as we are not accustomed to dealing with people like that.
She just sounds similar to our neighbors unfortunately.
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Old 08-30-2006, 03:08 PM
 
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There was a whole long thread on my other mama's group about offended dog owners - we have a number of great parks in our city that are really known as "dog parks", and you've got to be prepared to deal with dog owners if you go there.

I've had a run-in with a dog owner in my neighborhood too. We are next to a schoolyard that we cross to get home. During the winter, DD and I were playing with our sled in the snow. A big dog comes bounding into the yard, straight at us. He probably just wants to play, but I'm not much comfortable around dogs, and the dog is at least twice the size of DD (she was 4 at the time). I just scooped her up, turned away from the dog, and loudly but calmlyl asked the owner to come and get their dog. The owner was not even in the schoolyard yet, and was not in eye contact with the dog.

He got all huffy and defensive, "my dog is friendly blah blah blah". I said "I don't know you and I don't know your dog, and I don't rely on the word of strangers to keep my child safe". I don't care if people are offended - I don't take those kind of risks with my child's safety.

I'm sorry that you had that kind of a run-in with someone you see regularily in your neighborhood. I think you did the right thing. I wouldn't be worried about the message you've sent your kids. You've sent them a message that you WILL be assertive when it comes to their safety. IMO, we too often go against our instincts to keep ourselves and our kids safe because we are trying to "play nice".
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Old 08-30-2006, 03:10 PM
 
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You're in the right, here. You don't owe her an apology.

Since it sounds like you're bothered by your last response telling her to grow up have you thought of a better way to have ended it? If so, just talk to your kids about it, let them know how you feel you could have handled it better and see how they feel about it. Talking about it will probably help.

She sounds like a bully and she is the one who made the situation uncomfortable, confrontational and then spiraled down to rude, aggressive behavior. You could have joked with the others at the bus stop after she left that you should have been more worried about her attacking you then her dog.

Keep on taking the high road when you see her. Act like she doesn't scare you, bother you or get under your skin. I bet she won't bother you about it again.

If by some odd chance she apologizes to you don't feel that you have to apologize back. You are protecting your children and you have every right to do so. The way you acted and what you did is not unreasonable.

Hugs to you, you did a great job in a tough situation!
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Old 08-30-2006, 03:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captain optimism
I am going to go out on a limb here.

She might like to provoke confrontations.

She might (I know this sounds illogical) like you better now that you have reacted to her.

You will just have to see.

I totally agree with captain optimism here.
Remember that uncivilized schoolyard bullies do grow up, become parents and populate neighborhoods.
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Old 08-30-2006, 03:18 PM
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You're perfectly justified in not having your kids pet other dogs. I have a couple of dogs who are very docile and tolerant towards kids, but my children know they must never touch or tease other dogs because not all dogs are like ours... similarly I would never be offended if other parents stopped their children playing with my dogs (something that happens often, one of my dogs is a bit scary looking ) and if children I don't know ask if they can stroke the dogs in the street or the park I always ask them to check with their parents first.

I've had people be very rude and offensive to be about my dogs, particularly because they're often off the leash, but at the end of the day as a dog owner you have to realise that a lot of people are scared of dogs, have had bad experiences with dogs, and are protective and concerned for their children.
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Old 08-30-2006, 03:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by wildmonkeys
What do you ladies think. Should I go to her house and try to create some peace before our kids get off the bus? Should I have not said anything until I had my kids alone? I am really second guessing myself and terribly upset.
Ugh! Sorry your day started so crappy and you had to deal with a mega-b!tch like that. No, no, no & NO! I do not think you should have to do anything else with her. She should be searching you out to apologize to you (although I doubt she will). She sounds very defensive of her (poor) decision to bring the dog along. Lots of children are afraid of dogs. We have a few such kids in our local playgroup, and I make sure my dog is in the laundry room (her room, like a really big crate ) when they come over. I do not think there is a need to take any dog to a bus stop, etc. where children are gathered. A dog park, fine. People expect to see dogs there. Not at the bus stop.

My DD was bitten by a family members dog last year. A yellow lab- sweet, mellow dog. She fell on him while he was sleeping. It ended in 9 stiches in the cartiledge of her ear and a pretty noticable scar.

You did what you felt was needed to protect your children. You did it in a calm manner, you didn't chew her out for her poor choices & it really isnt your fault she over-reacted (defensive much?!) and she continued to display poor decision making skills by resorting to name calling in front of the kids. Her being offended is her problem, not yours. She'll either get over it or get an ulcer-either way it's still her issue.
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