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While the salvation army rings in our ears, we fight the hustle and bustle of frantic shoppers, circling parking lots for spots that any other time of year we would not accept. Tinsel strewn Christmas trees, houses adorned with colored lights and the smell of home cooked feasts – yes the holidays are here.

By the book, this is to be a time of joy, happiness and family, but that isn’t always the case. A Florida family is mourning the loss of a toddler who was attacked in his home during a party by a Rottweiler this past Saturday. What authorities are calling a tragic accident is really a question of responsibility. According to the American Kennel Club, Rottweilers are known for their “intelligence, endurance and willingness to work” making them the perfect candidates to be police dogs, herders, service dogs, therapy dogs, obedience competitors and devoted companions. So why would this “devoted companion” attack and maul a little boy innocently picking up a dropped cookie? Why was this potential service dog confined to the outsides of the home when clearly Rottweilers work well with people?

Before you go and start creating a fear in your head about Rottweilers and other “dangerous” dogs, please take a moment to consider where the dog may have come from. Maybe he was chained up outside as a guard dog, never socialized and cared for like so many other misunderstood breeds. Or maybe he was abused or maybe he had a fear of large crowds. Perhaps he was trying to protect something and the toddler came too close? Either way, please don’t let the media convince you all large breeds are bad dogs. Someone dropped the ball when it came to responsibility. The toddler should have been better supervised and the Rottweiler should have been better contained or socialized with children in the first place. What it all boils down to now is a tragic accident that we can all learn from. Learn about your pets, understand their history and care for them as if they were your own children. Never leave pets and children unattended because ultimately you are responsible for their behavior.

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