When I was about 6 years old, we were visiting a neighbor of ours, whose dog had recently had puppies. As I was petting one of them, the puppy’s mother charged me, jumped up and took a bite out of my cheek. From the day forward, I had a fear of large dogs. More accurately, I had a fear of other people’s dogs.
The dogs we had, whether big or small, were of no concern to me. I knew them, therefore trusted them. After a few years, I noticed that my fear began to lessen, to the point where I thought I had overcome it.
Then a couple of years ago, my son had a run in with some dogs. It was a scary ordeal and immediately my fear of large dogs returned. It wasn’t just a small fear. Just being in the near proximity of a dog, even one on a leash, would cause me to hold my breath and tense up, terrified that it would attack. It was really quite ridiculous.
To add to my fear, we had new neighbors move in a few months ago. With them, they brought along their large, muscular Pit Bull. Every time I would leave the house, I would scan the area first to make sure the dog wasn’t outside. When I knew everything was safe, then I’d venture out.
Had they kept the dog on a leash, this probably wouldn’t have been such an issue, but they didn’t. Never did I see that dog on a leash. Our neighbors would just let him run free outside, often times without any supervision. One evening, we came home and were met with the dog slinking around a bush toward us, growling and visibly upset that we were there. Our neighbors soon heard him and sternly urged him inside.
I’ve secretly wanted them to give the dog away for some time now. Well, sometimes we get our wish.
Friday afternoon, I looked out and saw an animal control officer trying to catch him. Evidently before leaving the house, our neighbors had kept their window open, with the screen removed. So he had jumped out and was spotted by another neighbor.
The animal control officer appeared to be a bit timid around the dog also, so her attempts at catching him weren’t very effective. My son was to be getting off the bus within a couple of hours and there was no way I was going to have this dog loose as he was walking home.
So with a deep breath, I peeked my head out the door and asked if she would like my help. She accepted my offer. To distract him from her so she could catch him, I made him a big bowl of cat food (that’s all I had). After placing it on my porch, there he came. With his head in the dish and his ears on the animal control officer, he ate. For a moment. Then ran off.
Eventually he ran out of the neighborhood and had officers driving all around looking for him. Soon, I found that my entire opinion of him had changed over the course of that two hour ordeal. I became concerned about him. I feared that he would be hurt or run over.
After an hour, I was happy to see him running up the sidewalk. I ran in and poured him a bowl of water. Running back out, I called him by name and he ran over and drank. By then I was beginning to like that brown beast. I was no longer afraid of him.
He was actually quite sweet. After a call to animal control to report his return, the lady soon showed back up. After another round of ‘dancing’ with the dog, we finally decided to coax the dog back into his home, through the window he had escaped from. We opened it up and in he went. Go figure. Had we done that 2 hours prior, we could have saved lots of time and energy.
Unfortunately, the owners didn’t come home and soon it was decided that animal control would take the dog to the shelter. Pit Bulls are illegal here without having them properly registered, which was this dog’s case. So they had no choice but to take him. After a $1000 fine, the owners may be able to get him out, if the judge allows them to.
So as the brown beast sits in the shelter with an unknown future ahead of him, I’m sad. Sad for that beast that I so badly wanted gone. Now, I just want him back. Every time I hear our neighbors come home, I excitedly look out hoping to see the brown beast running into their house. But, no brown beast. Not yet.
I can honestly say that I would be happy to see him come back. Talk about overcoming my fear. I’m thankful to the brown beast for showing me that just because a dog is big, muscular and its breed has a bad reputation, they can actually be quite harmless.
The only way to overcome our fears, is to face them.