One morning last October, I was doing our usual morning routine which included letting our 100-lb Pitbull out into our backyard. That particular morning, I decided to put the shock collar on him (which he had had since he was a puppy), because the day before, I struggled to get him back inside. He growled at me for the first time when I tried to bring him in that day. That was a red flag to me, but when I told my husband, he said not to worry. I thought if I put the shock collar on before I let him out, it might save me the hassle of having to coax him back inside.
Zeppelin was my husband’s dog, but I accepted him into my life when I married Zach. Zeppelin was six years old when I came into his life and he really liked me. I took care of Zeppelin when Zach was working and he was never aggressive towards me. We were good buddies and he loved my attention. When our baby, Violet, came along, Zeppelin did very well with her, too.
That morning as I was trying unsuccessfully to place his shock collar on him, my 11-month-old daughter crawled directly between his front legs, which she had done several times before without incident. But this time, it triggered something in Zeppelin and he snapped. He immediately turned into a beast. As soon as I heard a growl and saw the hair stand up on his neck, my inner mama bear kicked in.
Zeppelin snarled aggressively as I grabbed his regular collar and pulled my hardest to keep him from making contact with my baby. He was trying to strike her head. I had to use ALL of my strength. His 100-lb body pulled me around in a circular motion on the floor as I held and pulled him back with one arm with the other arm shielding my baby. I was able to get my bearings to stand and pulled him out the door before he did any major damage. I turned back and saw Violet sitting there screaming, blood streaming down her face. I scooped her up, held her to my chest and howled like a wild animal. How could this happen? It didn’t feel real, but as fast as I could, I was able to get Violet medical attention and she was cleared to go home within a few hours. Luckily, the laceration was small enough that it didn’t even need stitches. The doctor prescribed a strong antibiotic for her to take to kill any bacteria that may have gotten into her wound from the dog’s saliva.
My husband and I mutually agreed it was best for Zeppelin to be put down. He had NEVER been aggressive to any human in his 8-½-year life until that day. It was shocking for my husband and I and everyone else who knew him. It was completely out of character. So it was a difficult decision to let him go, and it was heartbreaking. We had so many good times with that pup. He was part of our family for 2-½ years (I’m sure you dog mamas understand), but we knew it was time to say goodbye.
I had taken Zeppelin for walks several times and I always needed the shock collar because he was extremely strong and could pull me around like a rag doll. Even with the shock collar, I still had a hard time controlling him. My 200-lb husband would even struggle at times. This dog was pure muscle. So, me being able to overpower him (without his shock collar on) was a miracle. My shoulder was sore for weeks afterwards, but it was 100% worth it. Ladies, my inner mama bear saved my baby from what could have been permanent injury or death. My little cub was protected and safe because of it. I’m so grateful our bodies are designed to protect our children. In all seriousness, Thank You, Jesus! We were so blessed that morning.
So what does the term “mama bear”actually refer to? It’s a slang term for a motherly figure who can be very loving, but fiercely protective. The “momma bear effect” is also explained by Ruxandra LeMay on psychreg.org as the following: “Mums will experience constant worry, a keen awareness of the surrounding environment, a need to overprotect the baby, and even aggression at times when things don’t go according to her plan.”
How do the mama bear instincts work? I wanted to know the science behind it, so I researched it, and the results are fascinating.
While generally humans and other animals flee or freeze when faced with an imminent threat — mothers stay put to protect their babies. And neuroscientists from Lisbon’s Champalimaud Centre have discovered the secret ingredient which makes mothers fight rather than flee. It’s the ‘bonding’ or love hormone, oxytocin. So as mom’s bond with baby is strengthened, so is her innate protective instinct.
Breastfeeding moms have the strongest response when their child is in danger. The UCLA Department of Psychology conducted a study in 2011 that revealed the following: “…breast-feeding can help dampen the body’s typical stress response to fear, giving women the extra courage they need to defend themselves [or their baby].” This doesn’t minimize non-breastfeeding moms’ power to protect their children. As long as you have a strong bond to your child, your fierce protective instincts will kick in when faced with danger.
I had no fear in the moment, just determination and aggression. That is so unlike me! I am usually terrified if I even hear a dog growl, so confronting a large pit bull that had shifted into full-blown beast mode would normally be out of the question. But in my mind at that moment, there was no other option. No flight, just fight.
Being a mom is literally a superpower. Even at your weakest moments, you have the ability to do superhuman things simply because you’re a MOM. Don’t ever underestimate your power or your worth.
Elise Blaser lives in Southeast Idaho with her husband Zach, and beautiful one-year-old daughter, Violet. Before becoming a mom, she earned a bachelors degree in Business Management from ISU. She is passionate about humanity and has worked for two nonprofit organizations. She is currently a volunteer Crisis Counsellor for Crisis Text Line, where she helps texters navigate and cope with crisis. She has found a new hobby in writing, but has always loved music, exercise, anything sugar and sharing her life experiences to help uplift others.
designed by Michelle gifford creative
powered by Showit
We’re excited you are here, and we love you! Our hope is that we can keep this place uplifting for all types of moms in all seasons of life! So when you have 2 seconds, we hope you'll make some friends, kick back, and stay awhile!