A recently viral surveillance video captured a young boy hopping off his bike and running into a neighbor's garage to hug the family's dog. The dog’s owner, Hollie Mallet, posted the video to social media hoping to find out who the child is and invite him to play with her dog more often. The boy was later identified as Josh Breaux, who lost his own dog a year ago.
But although many sharing the video have praised it for being sweet and demonstrating a boy’s love for dogs, it raises a point that bears mentioning: What if the dog had not been friendly?
“There could have been a very different ending,” explains Hilarie Erb of AKC’s GoodDog! Helpline. “Many dogs are afraid of children and would not have this happy reaction toward being so suddenly approached and hugged by a child. Even the most easy-going dogs don’t really like being hugged; they simply tolerate it. Please teach your children that for their own safety they should never approach a strange dog without adult supervision and permission from the dog’s owner.”
Josh’s mother, Ginger Clement Breaux, posted in response to the video: “Last night when I first saw it, I was torn as a momma being happy and upset because he knows he shouldn't be on someone's property, but I wake up this morning more happy that he just absolutely adores dogs so much.”
Fortunately, the dog, named Dutchess, happens to enjoy the attention she gets from Josh, and Mallet has connected with the family and invited him back to visit her.
And soon, the family hopes, he can get another dog of his own—when they have the time to invest in a puppy. “Things have been busy and Josh is active with after school activities so we have not jumped back into taking on the responsibility of starting all over again with a new pup quite yet,” says Beaux. "It will happen though!”