Empathy Intervention: Dog “Bite” – Tyler Hentges

At first I had a hard time trying to think of where to intervene in my own life. Rarely am I ever very outwardly angry, but in the past month there was one occasion that infuriated me. After coming back from the beach, our dog, Brooks, was on leash walking to the car to leave with our group of boys. He is very friendly and likes to meet and greet new people he comes across. Before opening the car, the leash was taken off and Brooks went to greet a new group of people going to the beach. After walking up to a group there was large (hefty) man, who clearly did not like dogs, that was shooing the dog away. After not reacting to his verbal signs to get away, the man started to kick at the dog to make him go away. The dog then barked at the man, startling the man and causing him to step back. While stepping back the man lost his footing and fell on his behind. It was then that the boys were able to get the dog back on leash and in the car. At no point was the man ever bit by the dog. After the confrontation we spoke to the man, apologizing for the fluke incident, assuring he had no injuries from falling and then left. As we drove off they took a picture of my car’s license plate. A couple weeks later, I get a call from my family telling me animal services came to my house in Oakland looking for the dog and asking about the incident. The man had apparently called the police telling them that he was bitten by our dog. This made me so angry that he had lied to the authorities to try to get our dog taken away. For days I was stirring about this only feeling lots of anger. At the same time in this class we were supposed to become more conscious about empathy and I realized that this was the place in my life I should focus on. Although I know that my dog would not harm anybody, a complete stranger would not know that, especially if they are afraid of dogs. I could imagine as a larger man, there is probably not much that scares him, but after falling because of a dog I would be very embarrassed and angry. It would leave me powerless because I could do nothing about it. An easy answer from there to feel closure on the situation would be to punish the culprit. Although I still feel some negative feelings about the situation, I has caused me to think about how fear affects everybody and can leave anybody feeling powerless.

-Tyler Hentges


About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *