As I type this, Cody and Nate are still not home from the Pediatric ER. They have been there about 4 hours, and I hope they will be home soon. Something completely unexpected and unbelievable happened this afternoon and I want to warn all other parents about this commonly ignored danger. Nate was bitten by our neighbor's dog. It is the kind of thing that I hear about occasionally but assume would never happen to my family. We've been playing with this dog for years and it has never seemed even slightly aggressive or given us any reason to think it would ever bite. That is why this is an ignored danger: people (ourselves included) forget that even the most loving, tame dog could potentially bite a child. No one saw what happened so I have no idea what Nate did, if anything, to cause the bite. He was bitten on the ear and there is a deep gash at the top of his ear right where it joins to his head. It bled, but not profusely. He screamed and cried, but stopped after a little while. I was not even sure if he needed to go see a doctor. In fact, the wound is almost invisible (because of its location between his head and ear) unless his ear is pulled back slightly. Then I could see how deep it was and I thought it might need stitches (which the ER doctor eventually confirmed.) The entire thing is unfortunate and we take much of the blame for not being more vigilant. That is why I am writing this reminder to all parents to please watch your small children closely whenever they are playing with an animal. Children lack the ability to defend themselves if a dog begins to play too rough, and they also may unintentionally provoke an animal.
Now the dog has to go into quarantine for 10 days of observation before he can be released to our neighbors. Frankly, this whole event had the potential of wrecking friendly relationships between us and our neighbors, but thankfully we have all handled it in a mature and understanding way. It was just an unfortunate accident. And it could have been much worse. It makes me shudder to think what that same gash would have done to Nate's face. Please don't toss this warning aside lightly.