I’m afraid of dogs

I’m afraid of dogs

I just got chased by a dog.

A small, aggressive fiend who was hungry for my flesh. It’s true. What started as a familiar walk to the mailbox, ended in the most terrifying 30 seconds of my life.

I’ll admit, it was a small dog. But it still ran after me: barking like a maniac and nipping at my ankles and everything. I kept walking and tried not to look back. I figured running was probably the worst thing I could do. So I just walked at a normal pace, resisting the urge to run. It had to go away right? It had to know I was not a threat.

But it didn’t leave. And I felt like an idiot for keeping this leisurely pace when every bone in my body was telling me to run.I cringed inside and started to panic. I stood up on my tippy toes and screamed — a nervous yelp. What was I doing wrong? I turned back to face the little devil in the eye. If fear was my perfume, I was drowning in it.

So yeah, if you’re animal lover, this is about the time when you conclude that I am a horrible person. But let me try to explain. I never really had pets growing up so I’ve been known to get a little tense when a dog is in the room. I don’t hate dogs. I just don’t get them. And that makes me anxious. So please take this post as a the questionings of a animal-ignorant, slightly overdramatic human, curious for some answers.

For most of my life, I’ve denied that I truly have a fear of dogs. But dog-owners can smell fear just as quickly as their furry friends can. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve heard the following well-intentioned suggestions:

“Don’t worry, he doesn’t bite.”

“She’s a friendly dog.”

“You know they can smell fear right?”

“Just push him away and he won’t bother you.”

I have never found comfort in any of these words. The main reason being that I have little to no understanding of the relationship between a dog and its owner. I mean, obviously your dog loves you, but why would he trust me? Isn’t he supposed to protect you? If I pet him the wrong way, could he go into attack mode? What if he jumps on me? What do I do?!

All of this sounds like nonsense to an animal-lover. I find pets, and the relationships they have with their owners so fascinating. How can you trust each other so easily? Part of me wishes I could understand or experience it on my own. But I’m stuck with a black blot on my heart, in the shape of what I assume is a puppy.

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been thinking about dogs a lot. I would like to have one some day. I’ve been making some good progress. But today, I feel like all of it has gone down the drain.

Oh, and about that dog that chased me? An older European lady came to my rescue. “He no bite,” she assured me, shaking her head. I did as I usually do in awkward situations, smile — and laugh. And I turned right around, my heart pounding in my chest and skipped up the steps to my house.

The first thing I did was google what to do when a dog chases after you.

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