When dog lovers Kim Zolciak-Biermann and Kroy Biermann’s son got seriously injured by one of their beloved rescue pups, they thought long and hard about whether or not they should keep him in the family.
Kim Zolciak-Biermann is known for her role on the reality show The Real Housewives of Atlanta, while Kroy Biermann is an outside linebacker in the NFL. Now, the couple and their family star in their reality series, Don’t Be Tardy. But it wasn’t all glitz and glamour on one fateful day in April, when their rescue Husky-Boxer mix, Sinatra (“Sinn”), bit their 5-year-old son Kash in the face.
The injury was so bad, it nearly blinded the young boy, and the family was shocked that their fun-loving dog would ever hurt any of their 6 children.
“It was a like a bad dream,” Kim told PEOPLE. “Our dog Sinn is heavily, heavily trained. Kash is his favorite. It made absolutely no sense to any of us. This is nothing I ever thought I’d be dealing with in my life.”
They were especially shocked because Kash and Sinn had always been close.
“Sinn and Kash have been best friends since the day we got Sinn,” Kim said in the story. “Kash is an absolute animal lover, and Sinn is definitely his favorite, without a shadow of a doubt. That’s why it was extra hard.”
According to the story, Kash spent 4 days in the hospital, and the family feared he may even go blind from a puncture wound just one millimeter from his eye. Thankfully, the little boy is not only expected to make a full recovery, he has no residual fear of Sinn, or dogs in general.
“He saw a service dog in the hospital and he hopped up out of the bed. He was all over the dog, petting the dog and loving on the dog and kissing the dog with no inhibitions,” Kim explained to PEOPLE. “It was unbelievable.”
But Kash’s parents – who have 4 other rescue dogs – weren’t so quick to forgive. While they contemplated whether or not they should keep Sinn, the pup stayed with their trainer.
In retrospect, the Biermanns realized that Sinn was put in a situation that caused his outburst. Although normally loving and obedient, the high-energy mutt could be “hyper-active and hyper-sensitive,” according to Kroy. He explained that on the day of the incident, the pooch was outside playing with two of their sons, and he had the leaf blower running – something that has always made Sinn nervous.
“It’s a process every day,” Kroy told PEOPLE. “Being right there, it was just wrong place, wrong time, wrong circumstances. The perfect storm. Had one thing been different, it wouldn’t have happened. You try to say, ‘What would I have done differently?’ And there are a lot of things. now, but you can’t change any of it. You just have to learn from it and grow from it.”
What’s more, after viewing security camera footage, they realized that Sinn was not acting out in aggression.
“That was a turning point for me,” Kim said. “It was not an attack — he nipped at Kash’s face in an attempt to communicate with Kash. Not that that is an excuse. But he took off running. It wasn’t as if he was attacking. Sinn knew he had done wrong.”
After lots of consideration and consulting with specialists, psychologists, and trainers, the family ultimately decided to keep the pup, but a few rules have changed. The Biermanns always supervise him, and when they can’t, he goes into his crate, which has been moved to a quieter part of the house. He has a special fenced-in area where he can run around, but he no longer has free reign of their home.
And Sinn isn’t the only one adjusting to changes following the incident.
“We’ve taught our kids, no matter how nice dogs are, they are capable of anything and cannot communicate to us in another way than through action — be it barking, growling, biting, scratching, or running away,” Kroy said in the story. “A child sees furry, fluffy, fun, slobbery … they don’t see danger. And we didn’t either, as adults who had always owned dogs but never gone through something like this. But you have to understand those triggers. Whether it’s loud noise, their tail being pulled, whatever it is, it should be on the forefront of everybody’s mind. Not as fear, but just awareness.”
This is a valuable lesson for everyone to remember while around dogs, and the Biermanns hope that their story can help prevent accidents for other families.
Although the Biermanns gave their decision on Sinn a lot of consideration, it seems that Kash was really the one who had the final say.
“If Kash ever looked at me and said that he didn’t want to be around Sinn or showed any hesitation, then he wouldn’t be here,” Kim told PEOPLE. “We love Sinn, he’s part of our family, but our children will always come first without a doubt.”
What do you think about this family’s decision to keep Sinn? Let us know in the comments below!