Facing Fears

pitbull2When 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.

pitbull3

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.

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25 Responses to Facing Fears

  1. I have a very similar fear of dogs I don’t know. Two years ago my cousin’s dog took a big bite out of my leg (also a mother with puppies). Now even the sounds of a Scottish Terrier barking will make me jump back in fear.. I am so glad to hear you are getting over your fear, and it gives me hope that I will as well 🙂 Thanks for the nice post!

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    • mewhoami says:

      A biting dog can certainly make a person afraid of them. I never would have thought of a Scottish Terrier biting, but then again any dog is capable. I hope that you also can begin to get over your fear. Hopefully it won’t take a loose dog to do it. 🙂

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  2. Aw, poor big brown beastie. I’m glad you got to know him(?) a bit better during the ordeal. I’ve been bitten three times but never developed a fear of dogs. Mine is of heights and I have no reason at all for it. But I’m scaling ladders at work every day and as long as I don’t over think, I’m just fine, too.

    Hope your neighbours show some responsibility for their dog, finally. A bit of fear for them might make them realise that they need to take better care of their furry one.

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    • mewhoami says:

      Wow, that’s impressive that you’ve never developed a fear. I guess that just goes to show that we’re all wired differently. Heights is a big fear. Not mine, but for many people. It’s interesting that you can climb a ladder with little problems. That’s where going to “your happy place” would come in handy.

      I hope so too, but after speaking with him (the owner) a little while ago, I’m not sure they’ll be getting the dog back. So, if not this pet, then hopefully they’ll do better with the next one.

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  3. This is certainly a great illustration of facing down one’s fears. Good for you. I hope the brown beast is okay.

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    • mewhoami says:

      Facing down fears – they do come in all forms don’t they? Well, I don’t know. By the sounds of it, the brown beast’s future isn’t looking too great. I’ll be updating the post soon.

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  4. You are right, the only way to overcome our fears is to face them, and most often I’ve found that the fear was more in my head than anything!

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  5. amazing how our perspective can change with each new day.

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  6. April says:

    Great job. Fears become huge in our minds when we let them fester.

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    • mewhoami says:

      Yes we do. We can make the smallest things into our worst fears, if we allow it. That’s no fun way to live.

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      • April says:

        I wish I could conquer my fear of flying. The only way I feel I can do it, other than sheer determination, is to be exposed to it over and over. That isn’t possible, so I’m going to try something else–like that zip line tour I’m planning for this Spring.

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        • mewhoami says:

          The cost of flying would certainly make it hard to do everyday, or even every month for most people. Zip lining? That is something I’ve always wanted to do. I can’t wait to read about it, after you do it.

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  7. DailyMusings says:

    So great that you were able to overcome your fear- no small feat. Especially with a dog of that strength and size. So sad how people do not take responsibility for their pets, who in the end suffer because of that. It is wonderful that you helped in the way you did.

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    • mewhoami says:

      It was quite an accomplishment for me. All credit goes to the nice brown beast. I agree, it’s the animals that end up suffering for the people’s mistakes. I’m hoping his owners will learn from this.

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  8. Glynis Jolly says:

    Most dogs are a little frightening to me unless it’s something of a miniature size. This stems from a dog my brother had while we were growing up, a Black and Tan Hound. He got mean as he got older to the point where only my brother and my mom could go into the backyard.

    Pit bulls? Don’t ask me to go near one. It just isn’t going to happen

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    • mewhoami says:

      Just one misbehaved dog is all it takes to instill that fear into us. I wonder what caused him to get meaner as he aged. It would be hard to be around a mean dog every day. I would have spent my time hiding in my room.

      I understand that! This one ended up being nice, but I doubt I would willingly walk up to another one to pet it.

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  9. parmis rad says:

    Nicely told! I really enjoyed reading it and am glad to see you could overcome your fear. I can relate with living through a traumatic experience. I think what you had was a milder version of post traumatic event. I’ve had that with water since I nearly drowned at the age of 6 in a frozen swimming pool. At the conclusion of your story I am so happy to see you having empathy and concern for the dog and also clever use of the word beast because towards the end I see it used as a term of endearment. Hope the brown beast is OK …

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    • mewhoami says:

      Thank you. I think you’re probably right. Scary situations can plague us for years, sometimes even unknowingly, until we face them.That incident must have been terrifying for you. Have you tried to overcome your fear yet? I’m glad you picked up on the once mean brown beast, becoming a sweet and friendly brown beast. I even had a dream about him last night. Weird. The neighbor has a court hearing soon about the dog’s future, so we’ll see.

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