At three years old, a kid really doesn’t understand much about self-protection or defense. But it usually doesn’t take long for children to figure out how to lash out if attacked. For me, it only took one suggestion from my mom.
Our next door neighbors in Grantville, Georgia, were good friends. Mrs. Smith good-naturedly fed me mayonnaise sandwiches all the time, and her husband, O.E., entertained me by snoring so loud that his snores could be read on an earthquake seismograph.
The Smiths also had hound dogs. One time, O.E. called us over to look in his small pen. It was a homemade wooden doghouse with a plywood roof that could rested on top. O.E. gently lifted the roof to show us what was inside. When we peered in, there was his female hound with 12 puppies that had just been born. For some reason I always felt sorry for that dog, and more so when I grew up and gave birth to my children.
Twelve. How awful.
Anyway, the Smith dogs would howl and bark, but rarely aggravated us…except one irritating hound with long floppy ears...the daddy of all those puppies.
Every time I went outside to play, that mongrel would come over and into my business.
Riding my beloved tricycle or swinging on my swing set kept me busy, and when I got bored, my mom would provide mixing bowls full of flour and water for me to play with. And of course, I had my visits to the Smiths to keep me entertained. I really loved those mayonnaise sandwiches.
But no matter what I did or where I went, that nasty hound followed, knocking me down, pulling at my clothes and just making a nuisance of himself.
Now, I love animals…I always have. I especially love dogs no matter the size or breed. But that hound was unbearable, and it didn’t help that he was bigger than me. I could have ridden him like a horse. The aggravation was escalating, and it was bound to come to a head. And it did.
One day, I was sitting on the lawn playing in the clover with some of my toys when low and behold, up comes the hound. Immediately wanting to play, he started shoving me over and nipping at my clothes. Suddenly, he got a little too excited and actually bit me.
Screaming my little head off and crying my eyes out, I rushed in the house and told Mom that O.E.’s bad dog had bit me. I showed her the mark (which was barely noticeable), and she soothed me like I expected. But then she said something odd.
“Vicki, if that dog comes over and bites you again, just bite him back,” said Mom. She was kidding, but
I thought about that for awhile and decided it was good advice.
Several days later, my mother heard screeching and squealing. Worried, she ran out of the house to see if I was alright. Shocked, she came to a stop when she saw me with the hound, and with one of his floppy ears in between my teeth, locked on for dear life. The poor dog was trying to get away from me and scrambling to get his ear loose while he howled up a storm.
Mom broke up the fight, made me let the hound go, and placated a concerned O.E. who had come out to see what was happening to his dog. I had a mouth full of dog hair.
Needless to say, the hound never came over again. I rarely saw him, and every day when I visited the Smith house, he avoided me like the plague. He had learned his lesson. The ingenious plan had worked!
It even worked in preschool when a kid in class bit me, and I bit him back. My mom said that the biting thing only applied to the hound, and not other kids, but I took vicious pleasure in biting a plug out of that kid.
It must run in the family, because one of my kids enjoyed biting. He only bit me once, I bit him back, and he learned a lesson. He stopped that nasty behavior.
The moral to the story? Everyone needs limitations and discipline. Take a bite out of crime by disciplining your kids. If your kids are punished for bad behavior the way God intended, they learn which behavior is unacceptable, and later in life they won’t become members of the three hots and a cot club…prison.