Thursday, 28 May 2015

Speak Softly and Carry a Shih-Tzu

There is a little boy who lives around the block from us and plays with the boy next door on a regular basis.  For some reason this little boy doesn't seem to like Frack very much.

Over the last year I have overheard this kid call Frack names and try to instigate games where they get to target Frack and pick on him.  One day in the winter Frack came home from school to tell me that this kid, oh let's call him Dennis, got a couple of kids to make "snow rocks" (basically rocks rolled up in snow so that they look like snowballs but have a rock hard center) and chase Frack around throwing them at him.  One of the "snow rocks" got him in the face.

I mostly let the school handle the incident although I did talk to the parents of the boy next door.  That boy is Frack's best friend and I didn't think he really meant to hurt Frack, but got caught up in the whole peer pressure thing.  He's really a nice boy with nice parents who have been good neighbours to us for about 12 years now.

I'm not exactly sure what Dennis' problem is.  I've met his mother and she seems very nice.  Frack has never done anything to him but for some reason this kid likes picking on him.

About two weeks ago I came home from work to hear Frick tell me that this Dennis kid decided to punch Frack in the stomach.  I asked him why that happened and he said he didn't know he just put a stop to it.  I marched right next door in the hopes that my neighbours had Dennis' parents' phone number.

They did.

I got Dennis' father on the phone.

"Hi, I'm so sorry to bother but I'm Frack's mum?  He's the little boy who lives next door to (name redacted because I don't feel like dreaming up another fake name)?  Anyway, I just thought you would want to know that today your son punched my son in the stomach and that to be honest he's kind of been picking on my son for a while now.  I'm sure I'm only getting one side of the story but from one parent to another I know I would want to know if my kid had hit anybody, so I thought I'd just give you this call."

He didn't seem very impressed by the information I had just given him.  And by this I mean not that he was pissed at his kid's behaviour, but that he didn't seem to be bothered very much by the fact that his kid punched my son.

"Oh.  Okay.  Thanks for letting us know."

And that was it.  He didn't ask if Frack was okay.  He never apologized for his son's behaviour.  He didn't even throw in a standard "I'll be giving him a good talking to."  Nothing.  I was beginning to wonder if I hadn't over-reacted.  But then I remembered all the times I heard this kid cry out "Let's get Frack!" and "Frack's a little baby!" and I wondered why I hadn't said something sooner.

Anyway, who knows?  Maybe I caught the guy in a bad moment.  Maybe he's just socially awkward.  I had done my job and let him know what his kid was up to.  The rest was his business.  I just knew I'd be keeping a closer eye on the boys when Dennis was around.

 So yesterday when Dennis was next door playing with (name redacted) and Frack decided to join them I made a point of working in the garden so I could watch them.

Isn't he just the cutest little muppet-dog you ever did see?
When I'm out in the garden I like to have the dog with me off leash, especially if the boys are playing because the dog loves running around and playing with them.

Fry absolutely adores children.  He knows they are a source of attention and cuddles and food.  All the kids in the neighbourhood know and love Fry.

It's kind of a fun experience taking my dog for a walk and having complete strangers know my dog's name.  Or when I take Fry with us for the walk to school and groups of school children come running to give Fry a pet.  In fact the morning walk to school is Fry's favourite time of day!

So it kind of came as a shock to me when I heard Dennis suddenly scream:

"GET THAT DOG AWAY FROM MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

I looked up to see what all the fuss was about and I saw Dennis running and screaming for his life while Fry, not realizing the kid was terrified, just chased after him thinking it was a great game.

Then all hell broke loose.

Dennis ran even faster and screamed even louder.  This seemed like awesome great fun to Fry who responded by barking and speeding up.  Me and the Dad of the neighbour kid were begging Dennis to just calm down and stop running ("You're only making him want to chase you!  He's a nice doggy!  It's okay!  He won't hurt you!"), all the while desperately trying to catch the dog who was clearly having the time of his life.

Even after I finally caught the dog, Dennis was inconsolable.  He would not calm down until I finally got Fry into the house.

Now, I never dreamed this kid was afraid of dogs.  He lives with one of the biggest standard poodles I have ever seen.  And he has played around our yard with Fry outside before.  I don't ever recall seeing him be uncomfortable around dogs before.  And I would never, ever want to terrorize a child to this level on purpose....

But....

Is it terrible that I kind of found the incident just a teensy, weensy bit amusing?  Am I a horrible person for hoping that Dennis might think twice before throwing snow rocks and punches at my kid knowing that my kid has Big Bad Fry to protect him?

I am probably going to hell, aren't I?

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