Rosie case reminds us people must do better

Rosie didn’t do it! “Not Guilty!” Newspaper headlines shout out in big black print that the Newfoundland dog, named, Rosie, legally did not need to be killed with a police rifle.

Sympathetic Rosie supporters around the world are hoping to celebrate that lawsuit finding.

Rosie was a remarkable dog, a 115-pound prize that should not be dead. Losing any precious pet can be life changing because pets are an important part of families and people living alone.

Deidre and Charles Wright, Rosie’s owners, have likely walked the long path of grief that follows loss of those we love. I’ve lived that heartache time after a death, and it hurts beyond words.

Pets jump into our heart and stay there forever. They are family to many folks, just as my Shih Tzu, Miss Katrina is to me.

Most pets are usually friendly if treated well, yet it’s wise for strangers to ask dog owners if you can pet their dog. Children get excited and can accidentally poke little fingers in dog’s eyes. Also, dogs tend to protect their owners and some just aren’t as friendly as Rosie was.

How can we know when people or pets really are brewing up a hurricane force of hatred and/or mental instability? Authorities say, “Pre- attack indicators for people include a clenched jaw, furrowed brows, and a fixed “thousand yard stare.”

I’m told authorities are trained in pre-attach indicators. Yet, one wonders if those indicators could also be taken as trouble signs--when truth is the animal or person is scared to pieces.

Who wouldn’t hide for protection if they felt threatened? I don’t know how animals show scared stress, although hiding behind bushes might be one defense.

When my Shih Tzu, Miss Katrina, near 16 pounds met Rosie near 115, it was a sight to behold. Little Katrina stood up on her back legs leaning her front feet against Rosie’s strong chest and worked hard stretching her head up as far as she could trying to touch noses.

Rosie bent down just enough for Katrina to touch noses. There was no fear between them and Rosie allowed me to pet her thick hair while Miss Katrina made Rosie her new friend. That was the first and last time we saw Rosie.

Today, sadly, Rosie is dead and a worldwide subject. Why and how she was killed is sad and draws more questions than answers. It’s likely a majority of people would agree -– she was a fine dog and should be alive today.

Pets play a heavy role in our life although they can’t speak above a “Woof” and we can’t always read their minds or wagging tails.

Miss Katrina and I found Rosie to be gentle, yet cautious.

How can we really know when people or pets are threatening or not? I asked readers that question after I unexpectedly walked within inches of soon-to-be notorious killer, Maurice Clemmons who was crossing Beach Park’s walking bridge November 07, 2009.

I’ll always remember the look on Clemmons face, of nobody’s-home blank stare straight-ahead look. Two days later Clemmons murdered four highly respected Lakewood police officers. How do people and pets know when real danger is only steps away?

That question seems answered when Seattle Police Officer Ian Birk, who shot and killed John Williams, a woodcarving citizen, was quoted in The Seattle Times newspaper of Jan. 12, 2011, saying he felt threatened by Mr. Williams’ behavior, based on police training.

Do dogs know those attack signs too?

Des Moines Mayor, Dave Kaplan said, “This is an unfortunate incident and we are taking steps to provide better equipment and training to avoid any further incidents.”

Rosie is gone. Can people do better? Let’s work to improve every today for all the tomorrows.

Today’s Thought: Instead of putting others in their place, put yourself in their place.

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