I have some things to say about the events of the last 24 hours.
First off, where did all you flippingly fantastic people come from?
Honest truth: I didn’t think yesterday’s story or my request was all that notable. It wasn’t that bad of a dog bite, just a couple nasty little puncture wounds, really. My kid wasn’t attacked, just almost attacked. I showed you a photo of my bare thigh (that alone should have scared you away immediately). I was a real ass to the girl in the heat of the moment. And, the details I could share with you about this family were limited.
Because of all that, I thought, hey, maybe 500 or so people will donate a buck or two. My real hope was to surprise this family with a thousand dollars or so to make Christmas easier this year.
What I got was more than 1200 of you flippingly fantastic people donating thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars so far. Last I checked we had just rounded the $10,000.00 bend (I think writing out all the zeros makes it look even more humongous) and donations are still coming in.
Yeesh. I’m sorry I only called you flippingly fantastic. You are far more fantastic than that. More like flip-dippingly-dooda fantastic.
The whole thing has given me a lot to think about. I’m pretty sure I’ve read every comment that was made on the blog, on Twitter, and on Facebook.
Let’s start with trust.
You don’t know me. Not really. You know a lot about me. You know what I present myself as, and what I put out there. But you don’t know if I’m truly honest or trustworthy. You don’t know if I’ll pocket half or most or all of the money for myself. I mean, you don’t know but that I’m a super flexible yoga man and bit a couple holes into my own leg just to make a few bucks. Okay, if you’ve seen pictures of me you know there’s no way I’m super yoga man. I’m lucky to reach my knees, sometimes. But still. You get the point.
Yet, more than 1200 of you now have given more than $10,000.00, through me, this guy you don’t really know, for a family that you can’t verify exists at all, let alone their struggles and conditions that I claimed they had. And I know a lot more than 1200 of you would have donated if so many of us weren’t strapped down in such tough financial situations ourselves.
So why did you trust me enough to do it? Why did you do it at all? I don’t know all the reasons. But I do know that it has done something amazing for my own belief in humanity. With all the dishonesty, and cheating, and horribleness that goes on in this world, all around us, every single day, sometimes it’s hard to believe that such a huge group of people will so openly trust and believe in the goodness of others. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that such a huge group of people would so openly trust and believe in the goodness of… me.
I want you to know that 1) I don’t take that lightly. And 2) I don’t consider this my gift to this family. I consider this our gift. We’re all a family here by now, aren’t we? And I think we need to have a family counsel about it.
On the whole dog thing... Turn that dog into a person. A person just attacked you and was going after your child. I'm sorry, but if it were me, that person would have gotten a lot worse than a kick to the ribs and a relocation. This is not about loving animals or being a speciest, this is about protecting a child from an attack. Period. Good on ya Dan! You are your son's hero.
You kicked a dog because it attacked you and was going to attack your child. - That is natural and its your right to protect your child. But you still hurt the animal and stated outright that it should be killed.
You cursed at a girl who wasn't controlling her dog. - That was understandable at the time, though still wrong. You stated that you should apologize for cursing at the girl. So you are recognizing yourself that you think it was wrong.
You show no empathy for the dog. You are speciest. You encourage people to show love beyond the labels that they live in. You are christian unless the other isn't human. That is where you draw the line and apparently won't look past. I don't draw the line there and I'm not the only one. I don't judge you for this (though I recognize that this comment sounds judgmental). I just wanted to let you know... in your own words, where you stand.
I think you responded how any person would have if a dog bit them and then turned on their child. I love dogs and always have but I would not tolerate being bite by one or one trying to bite my child. You are amazing in the fact that you are not afraid to say that you handled something wrong and admit that you wished you had done better. The world would be a much better place if more people could admit that and learn from it.
I think part of the gift to the family should be dog training lessons for the girl and their remaining dog.
Its the same as when i give a person asking for a spare dollar, i'll give him one. He may turn around and spend it on booze, or a rock, or he may go get something to eat because hes hungry. Its not up to me to investigate. I've done what i believe is right, i may not have changed someones life with one dollar or five, but maybe i can make their hour a little easier, make today better for someone. My conscience is clear, I did what i believe is right, i donated, after that what happens to the money is on your conscience. Having said that, you have a kind and trusting face, you write your soul directly to the page and that soul is beautiful.
As much as I LOVE dogs and animals in general, you made the right call with the dog. And this is coming from a person who sometimes prefer a dog's company over a human's.
I trust you to do the right thing with my donation.
Just want to comment on the dog part of this. I completely agree with you. That dog bit you and went after Noah. I would have thought you were an idiot if you didn't take action to protect him. It's an unfortunate situation, but the girl shouldn't have had that dog outside in public if she couldn't handle it. I love animals like crazy, but people that put aggressive dogs ahead of humans have their priorities seriously messed up. You my friend, have priorities in order. Bless you!
Each of the donations made were in response to the story you told. Therefore, this is where I believe the donations should remain. I don't want to say that there aren't other deserving families out there and that there is a lot to give but I just feel that the money was given by each person in a very heart felt way and should remain to whom it was intended.
oh ya that reminds me, you can't give more than 2k to the family before it affect their disability. I'd give it to the daughter that's working...
I say split it because if it's split in small enough amounts, the recipients don't have to pay taxes on it.
My son was 3 when he got bit by a dog. Not just any dog, my dog, the dog I had gotten before I had my son, and the dog who now sleeps quietly at my feet. Not only did he get bit, he was bit on the face and it required stitches. My son will forever have a white line in his lip when he smiles, and a tiny scar just under his nostril where they stitched it back together. As you did I had to look at the entire situation. It was not a unprovoked attack, my son stuck his face in the dogs food dish while the dog was eating. You have to be able to control your dog, I never would have though Rocky would bite anyone, let alone his boy. It happens, thank you for being man enough to advocate for the dog and the family, as well as admit when you are wrong.
I have a very close bond with critters of all kinds. I'm the weird one who can get wild animals to approach. I love the purity of their spirits. Quite naturally, I've had canine companions most of my life.
Still, it truly shocks me that people become angered when dogs are 'put down' for initiating an unprovoked attack on someone, ESPECIALLY a child.
I actually think it speaks to the gentleness of your soul, Dan, that this dog was still alive after the initial encounter. I mean, seriously, as any real parent can attest, in situations like this your primal instincts just take over. Your child's life was quite literally in danger. As much as I love my furry cousins, I can honestly say if I had been in your shoes, that dog probably wouldn't have survived the episode.
Could the dog be rehabilitated? Perhaps, though I've never heard of it working.
More importantly, is the owner of such a canine likely to have the skills to retrain it? Or the commitment necessary for rehabilitation? Highly improbable, or the dog wouldn't be like that in the first place.
It breaks my heart, and of course it's not fair. It's not the dog's fault it was untrained or neglected. When we bring animals into our human environment, it's our obligation to give them the skills and training to thrive in that environment. Period.
I just can't believe anyone could fault you for protecting your child.
Okay, I'm done with my rant now.
I think it needs to be said again that even as a gift, they are supposed to report this and that Dan has to report what he does with the money. So, if he uses all of the money and gives it to this family as a car, lounge chairs, or a lump sum of cash in the bank, it has to be reported and ultimately, it is going to effect their monthly payments and hurt them greatly in the long run. I wasn't able to donate and some may say my vote doesn't count but to those of you who had the heart and ability to donate something, you did it out of the goodness of your hearts because you have the ability to help someone. Why wouldn't you want to help more people with what you donated so that they all actually benefit instead of giving to one family and it actually hinders them in the long run?
Dan why don't you talk to an accountant, find out what the tax implications are, set that amount aside and then move forward with the donation. You could pay their rent for however long the money lasts or provide a more reliable van or maybe even both!
I donated because I do trust you. I trust you to be honest, compassionate, and to approach that family and us, your readers, with love. On top of that, I try to approach the world with an outlook of trust. If someone asks me for spare change downtown, I hand over whatever is in my pocket--I try to remember to put change in my pocket for just this purpose when I do head downtown--and TRUST that the person honestly needs the money. It's a small amount and I am willing to take that gamble.
The above is completely how I feel, and yet...when confronted with the decision of how much to donate, I wasn't sure. A dollar? Certainly. Two dollars? Of course. I can go higher, but how much? You aren't a charitable organization so I wasn't sure how to evaluate the risk/reward ratio. Finally I thought, "Well, jeez, I willingly spend $3-$5 on a fancy cup of coffee 2 or 3 times a week, surely I can 'risk' $5." So that's what I donated.
Tonight I read many of the comments to this post and was inspired to give more. I know you'll do good things with the money I'm handing over to you, and in a more direct way than I'm usually able to manage myself. Use it to help however many people you think would benefit from it best. <3
I vote to give it all to the family above you and here is my reasoning. You mentioned that their vehicle could use a lot of work and I was thinking if you got enough, why not gift them with a new car? Then give them some cash for taxes and tags. In your area, a reliable vehicle would be an awesome gift. You can keep enough to pay you taxes on the money as income so that then there are no questions as to what you did with the money and the family gets a great Christmas. By Friday you will have more than enough to do that and you could probably still have money left to give to another family too, but lets focus on changing the lives of this one family first. Think about it. A new vehicle would mean no more immediate expenses towards fixing the old one. And you can still give them the after balance. Don't you think the girl supporting the family would love to have a reliable vehicle? Because its a gift, I don't think a new vehicle would hurt their checks either. Double check it.
I admit it - I donated because you're the sort of guy who admits to the internet that you dropped the F-bomb in front of your 5-year old, kicked a dog and scared the heck out of this poor girl, all while reacting to a situation that likely would have any of us doing something similar (or worse). I read it and went "yup - that would be me, too. Go Dan!". But the thing that keeps me coming back and reading your blog, the thing that makes me so readily trust you to use my money to help others is that you then turned a bad situation into so much good, including a chance to get to know your neighbors and share them with us, too.As far as the money, I wanted my money to go primarily to this family, but I understand that it is a significant amount - I'd be happy with half of it going to them and the other half being split among other families, or the maximum we can give to the original family without hurting their disability payments.P.S. - Dan, keep being super-awesome. This is what the season is all about.
If it were possible to give to this one family in a responsible manner - one that would not affect their ability to collect the disability/aid they get - then that would be fantastic. If not, better to positively influence a few families than to inadvertently hurt the family we're trying to help. :)
Also, I would say before you just write a check to the family, tell them about the gift, because any assets (including cash in the bank) may count against their disability payments. Loading it onto pre-paid Visa/Mastercards truly might be a better plan, simply to give them access without it being in their bank account. My nephew is deaf and collects SSI, until he turned 18, every penny his mother made was reported to the Social Security Administration, and EVERY February his check was cut because her boss gave her a Christmas bonus via check. When the boss started handing out Visa debit cards, it was no longer a problem.
I don't understand whether we're supposed to vote here or somewhere else (I don't see a link to vote). I donated and I am with the majority - whatever they decide. I really have no preference and surely don't want to hurt anyone's existing benefits if a donation will do that. I know you'll make a good decision, Dan. You're just that kind of guy. Merry Christmas to you and Noah!
I donated with the intention of helping this family. I think we should follow through with that. I noticed over 2500 people voted when you mentioned 1500 gave. I would prefer only the individuals that gave vote or continue with OUR original plan. I'm sure you will make good decisions as to whom to give to, but if we don't follow through the next time individuals may not donate.
I donated with the intention of helping this family. I think we should follow through with that. I noticed over 2500 people voted when you mentioned 1500 gave. I would prefer only the individuals that have vote or continue with OUR original plan. I'm sure you will make good decisions as to whom to give to, but if we don't follow through the next time individuals may not donate.
Do gifts of monetary funds to people actually count against them with social security or state funding? It's a gift, not a source of income.
Sorry to hear you got backlash from some people about the dog. I would have reacted the same way and protected my child. Yes animals have rights but so do children and no rights should be put before a childs right to be safe. I think this situation and the way people have responded has gone a long way to restore my faith that there are thinking, caring people who want the best for others.
I have no idea what to vote for with only 2 options... giving it all to the one family as a check or as cash will definately hurt their social security payments.
However the full amount would make more than their Christmas, they'd be better off for a long time, if there was a way to avoid it interferring with their payments.
Also I don't know anything about the other families you would distribute to, maybe just an overview? AS I donated for THIS family, this story.
Just a thought, with all of the other ideas out there maybe you should run a re-vote with more options. I voted to spread it out so as not to hurt the family upstairs with our help. But after reading a lot of suggestions on getting them a new car or her a therapy dog or possibly both I think many of us would change their vote. I think it is great that so many want to help this family.
You are a good person, Dan. It is great that you want to help a family even after you were harmed and your son nearly harmed. There are a lot of people who not only would have ignored the problems the family is having but also tried to sue them for damages. Keep up the good work.
I voted to give the money to one family because I like the idea of getting them a car and either dog training or a companion animal, but truthfully I believe that you will make the right decision. I gifted because it made me feel better to know that I could help you help that family even a little. Whether you give it all to that family or find several that need help I still feel better that I was able to help. I also vote that you seek professional advice so you nor the family has problems resulting from this wonderful gift.
I have been in their situation before (and helped others with legal matters in similar spots), and there are legal ways to get this kind of help without hurting their eligibility for benefits. It takes more effort, but it is doable.
I don't really have anything to say...but I just wanted to give you a hug :) (Don't be so hard on yourself) So anywho...**HUGS**
I am a pet-loverand rescuer, and a parent and I agree with and understand your reactions all across the chaos. I admire your honesty in the writing about it. Nothing about the situation was ideal. That's life. The kid comes first, it's your job as dad. The takeaway is that after all the commotion, you got to know the family (far beyond me, I would have gone back to my apartment pissed and muttering under my breath) and the circumstances. Because you were able to see past the anger and fear and get to understanding and compassion, I admire you here. Once again. And becasue that's just they type of person we think you are, you get to gift our money.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think gifting it all to the adult daughter shouldn't cause any issue with anyone's disability.
People are allowed to gift other people money tax free up to $13,000/year/person. If you go above that, you run in to gift tax issues. I'm guessing that one single person hasn't gifted more than $13,000 towards this cause, so it won't impact the donors, but when you, Dan, gift the money, if it's over $13,000 per family, you may run into gift tax issues (which is a tax to YOU, the donor). So that's why I voted to split it up. Technically, it IS considered income, but there is plenty of evidence showing this was intended as a gift so I doubt you'd have trouble proving it. And everyone who is donating should understand this is a GIFT, not a DONATION. Biiiiig difference for tax purposes (donations are tax deductible, gifts are NOT). I just finished my last tax class for my Master's of Accounting at the UofU, so this is still fresh in my mind, but seriously, don't take my word for it. Get some professional advice from someone who is far more familiar with the code than I am. I can make some recommendations for CPAs here in Salt Lake County if you're interested.
I completely understand the need to rescue your kid. I 100% agree with what you did to protect Noah. As for the dog, I still felt a recoil in my body when you said it was "being taken care of" and that you "don't care." I guess I'm one of those animal lovers who find animal care to be just as important as that of a human child. I really hope that the dog is rehabilitated and placed in an appropriate home and not just killed off. It's really sad that it bit you, and I'm thankful that nothing bad happened to Noah, that's what's really important. And that despite the inappropriate circumstances of the girl with the dog, I think it's so wonderful that you're trying to help the family and that so many people are donating to help them. Your big heart and especially your outright honesty is why I have continued to read your blog since it began, and why I will continue to read it in the future.
Putting the funds into a trust might be a way to give the family or families the money without endangering their government benefits, especially with the medical issues.
Thanks for being you, Heather
I was attacked by a dog when I was 15 on my way to the bus for school. the dog lived in my street and i had never seen it before but as i walked past its house it attacked it was a massive dog and could have done some serious damage had i not held my bag up in front of me luckily a car driving past honked its horn and scared it off even though we had the bite marks on my bag to prove he attacked me the Rspca (similar to animal control. I live in australia) said that they had sent someone around to the house and spoke with the owners and saw the dog but it was on its best behavior and they felt nothing needed to be done. 5 days later i was walking to the bus again on the opposite side of the road this time and the dog was out again it chased me quite far before it decided to give up. i never saw that dog again but ever since large dogs frighten me. I completely support you reaction tn kicking the dog away to save your son as a parent now I am absolutely sure that i would have done the same and more to protect my daughter had i been in that situation even with my fear of dogs. and as for helping out this family I think that is just absolutely amazing of you!!! unfortunatley I'm unable to donate as much I would like to I just cant spare anything not even a dollar :( but i wish that i could as I know how hard it can be to struggle especially at this time of year.
@Kogia And then there are those who engage in anthropomorphism by refusing to recognize and respect the differences between species. Conversations with such people tend to be rich in theory & philosophy and very poor in practical experience.
@Kogia Can you honestly say that you wouldn't do anything within your power to protect your child from an attack by any living being? I am pretty much a "live and let live" person, but if ANY creature tried to attack my child, I would use as much force as necessary, regardless of their species. I would also use whatever force I needed to use if I saw any weaker creature being attacked (a small dog being attacked by a larger dog; a cat being attacked by a group of children; a possum being attacked by a dog, etc). If Dan were truly a non-empathetic "speciest", he would have continued to pursue the dog and kick it rather than recognizing that it was no longer an immediate threat after the first kick. In many places, people would have gone home to get a gun to "take care" of the dog without any further discussion. When I was a kid, I had a neighbor shoot my cat simply because it wandered into his yard. THOSE are examples of speciests.
IF you had read the second page of the post, you would see that Dan did express some empathy for the dog. He could have insisted that the dog be euthanized, but he agreed for the dog to be evaluated and re-homed if the dog was deemed to be safe. Maybe it took a few days before his brain could calm down enough for all the pieces of the puzzle to sink in and allow him to see past his anger, but that is to be expected after that type of experience. In my opinion, Dan made a very mature decision, and recognized that the dog may be fine in any other situation, but that he would continue to see the dog as a potential threat if the dog continued to live in the neighborhood. He found a compromise, which gives the dog a chance to live, yet protects his son from an animal that is potentially dangerous. To me, Dan's decision shows a lot of empathy for both the people AND the dog involved. Making outrageous statements like yours, however, shows that either (1) you have more empathy for animals than you do for people, or (2) you have no concept of the complexity of the decisions that have to be made in life sometimes.
@Kogia Before I make a remark on your post - what does speciest mean? I have looked it up twice with the results being "no word found" Thank you.
@LeslieDrysdale I just sat here with my mouth hanging open after reading this and now that I've recovered my powers of speech, I'd like to ask you to honestly consider something. Do you really count the attack on your own child as 'provoked' because your innocent toddler son simply bent over his furry buddies dish to share a meal?
Really truly seriously?
That's justifiable provocation?
By a toddler?
I've had all kinds of dogs throughout my life. From poodles to pit-bulls. And my first priority was to kid-proof each of them. A vital part of which includes training them to NOT react aggressively when their food bowl is invaded. Yeah it takes work since that's a deeply ingrained reaction. But that's a basic responsibility of any dog owner. Especially a parent.
I'd also ask you to consider what it does to a child's psyche when a parent chooses to keep an animal that just tore their little face wide open? Do you really believe there are any words to help a 3-year old understand why his mommy won't protect him from that threat?
I'm becoming speechless all over again. Signing off.
@elvisneedsboats Use it to help however many people you think would benefit from it. I agree wholeheartedly!
@joyfulgritsgirl There's a poll right above the line: "Love you all. See you tomorrow. Would love your thoughts." Looking at the link formats it looks like it's Java based, so you might need to update your Java in order to view it.
@Marianna Yes it does count against them. At one point I also worked in a home for the disabled (a not for profit- and yes as a secondary income I have done all types of jobs, lol...) and I had the brilliant idea to write to DIY or HGTV and have them come re-do the common area for our clients and ultimately the owner of the facility was horrified and had to school me on how that would all have to be reported as income....made me very sad but this is the same sort of thing, unfortunately. I like the credit card idea though...or maybe scholarship money for the one kiddo working to support her entire family...or paying for them to be cared for while she goes on a fabulous and well deserved vacation?
@down_with_it you can guarantee that she is included in the family's 'monthly income report'.
@NancyVisserBarrett Thank you for answering my question. I no longer have reason to comment to Kogia as you said exactly what I was thinking when I read her post. And you said it very well. Excellent response!
@ceebeach Speciesism = Human intolerance or discrimination on the basis of species, especially as manifested by cruelty to or exploitation of animals. Thus, being a speciest would mean that a person feels that other species are less important than the human species, and that it is okay to abuse them or be cruel to them.
@DoctorSunshine @LeslieDrysdale Just as importantly as kid-proofing your dogs, you also need to dog-proof your kids. Sometimes this is hard, especially with toddlers who are so quick and forget things so quickly. My daughter (now 7 1/2) has grown up in a home where we have always had 3 or 4 dogs. She was trained from early in life not to go near ANY dog that is eating, regardless of whether it is one of her dogs or someone else's dog. We have pounded into her head over and over again that any dog can bite if it feels threatened. We also taught her to understand a dog's body language and vocalizations, how to approach a dog who is with it's owner and ask permission to pet it, never to approach a dog who is alone or injured, don't grab toys or bones from a dog, etc. When she was younger, we kept her physically separated from the dogs while they were eating because let's face it; dogs are like perpetual 3 year olds and often react without thinking (also like 3 year olds, they have short memories; I've had two dogs fight over food, and 10 minutes later be curled up together on the couch napping).
When our daughter was about 4 1/2 we acquired a dog who had not been socialized (I think she was a puppy-mill breeding bitch who was dumped when she started having seizures). This dog has bit her twice (once on the hand and once on the cheek but neither time was deep). When we sat down as a family the second time (the cheek) to discuss whether or not to keep the dog, our daughter was the one who insisted that we needed to keep working with her and helping her learn that our home is a safe place. Even though she was only 6 at the time, she was able to recognize that she had made a mistake by not backing away when the dog growled a warning and that the dog was only reacting to what she saw as a threat. The dog has made significant improvements since that time, but we are still ultra-cautious when she is around other people, and take on the responsibility of training our daughter's friends on how to interact safely and appropriately with our dogs too.
I can't honestly say what we would do if one of our dogs seriously injured our daughter. We've spent a lot of time and energy into trying to prevent that from happening, but also know that there is no such thing as preventing accidents 100%. It would depend on the situation and physical health of the dog, whether or not my daughter was afraid of the dog afterwards, whether there was a pattern of the dog being aggressive. In Leslie's case, it sounds like this was an isolated incident and toddlers are usually quick to forget about how they even got injured (I've spent the last 20 years working with young children, so I know of what I speak). Older kids (6 and up) tend to be the ones who develop a stronger fear of dogs after being bitten, since they actually have the mental capacity to understand cause and effect more thoroughly. I prefer to give Leslie the benefit of the doubt and think that if her son was scared of the dog afterwards or if the dog had a history of aggression, she would have taken appropriate measures.
@NancyVisserBarrett @DoctorSunshine @LeslieDrysdale I think it perfectly normal that your daughter wanted to keep the dog even after being bitten twice....children are forgiving, forgetful and unable to fully comprehend consequences (thanks to the fact that the necessary connections in the cerebellum are not finalized until much later in life).
As adults, its OUR job to make those tough calls, to protect them from harm even when the harm comes from a loved pet or friend or family member. That's why we're the parents. We cannot justify ourselves by handing these decision off to the little ones, any more than we could justify letting them play in the road because they said they wanted to.
Children, when asked, will almost always choose to keep the threat around, especially when they know getting rid of it would upset a beloved parent. If you've worked with children for such a long time, you must surely know this already.
It is somewhat comforting to realize that both of you are aware your decision to keep a dog that had attacked your children was perhaps not the wisest course to take. Which would explain why you've laid the details out in a public forum for others to comment upon. Though if you ever show up at my clinic asking me to treat your child for another attack from this pet, I hope you'll understand if I really lose my cool....but only after patching up your precious little one ;)