WoodstockOwl asks: How should a child deal with strangers?
Well, you might have noticed that I’m a dog. So I think strangers are usually just nice people I haven’t met yet, who might have a hamburger they would like to give me. And the truth is, most people are great. Most people are nice and would never hurt me.
But some people are different. Some people kick dogs. Some people do other mean things to dogs. And some people even steal dogs. And some people do all those same things to kids too.
And it totally stinks that this is true, but it is. So here’s how we have to be, because of those few rotten people.
a) As long as someone’s a stranger (which means no one you know and trust has told you they’re okay), it’s best not to talk with them.
b) If you are out with someone you know, and get lost, there are certain adults you should go to for help. Police are the very best. Their whole job is helping people (even if they seem kind of scary sometimes; that’s just because they’re really tough and strong, so they can protect everyone). If you’re in a store, it’s totally okay to go up to someone who works there and ask them for help. But even then, it’s best to keep a little distance between them and you. Remember, some people just don’t like kids. Or dogs.
c) Some strangers are nice grownups who just love kids. So they might smile at you and say “hi.” And that’s all right. There’s no need to be scared of that. But that doesn’t mean you should stop and talk with them. They’re just being nice. If they want to talk more, just politely say you have to go.
d) No matter how nice they might seem, NEVER take anything from a stranger. If they offer you candy or money or ANYTHING, say no and get away from them. Grownups know better than to give things like that to kids, because they all were kids once and were told the same thing.
e) And the biggest rule of all, if a stranger asks or tells you to come with them, DON’T! This is one time when it’s okay to SCREAM! A stranger tried to take me into their car once, and I barked so loud they had to run away holding their ears! And my owner, Handsome, was so happy about it that he bought me a Double Cheeseburger! So scream LOUD! And when people look to see what’s going on, yell to them that this is a stranger who’s trying to take you away!
Okay, one last note on this. Some kids might think it’s really funny to do what I just said, scream to people that they’re being taken by a stranger, when they’re not. Maybe to say their Daddy is a stranger or something. This is a very very bad idea. It will get the adult in trouble, and then when people find out the truth, it’ll get you in LOTS of trouble. Joking is fun, but this is one area where you really can’t get away with it.