Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How I learned to fear (large) dogs

Every time I walk past a certain house, I'm almost always startled by a large German Shepherd that suddenly appears and barks loudly and threateningly at me. I've never made any threatening motions to him, though I freely admit telling him to shut it. Now I understand that the dog is protecting his territory and of course will bark at anyone or anything moving past his territory.

In seconds, I lose my fear and become calm.

It wasn't always that way though. I used to have a love/hate relationship with dogs. The love part came easily for me. I loved animals to begin with and dogs were no exception. One of my uncles used to own a large Dalmatian that I longed to pet, but never got the chance. Then there was a black mutt named Petey that my grandpa owned. Petey barked fiercely at just about anyone, except maybe for my grandpa. When I used to approach Petey, the dog clearly went nuts and barked loudly as he moved towards me.

Years later, I took a shortcut through a block-wide city park and saw a guy walking his dog. That was fine. Then the guy noticed how scared I looked and said confidently, don't worry, he won't bother you.

Yeah right.

The dog somehow got away from the guy, ran to me and nipped the calf of my leg. Fortunately, I was wearing jeans and the bite turned out to be far less serious than I thought. Of course, I was taken to the clinic, received treatment and was allowed to go home. The bite subsequently healed and that was that, pretty much.

But somehow, I never forgot. Even now, I tend to shy away from large dogs out of fear. Though I know better, I have a hard time losing fear of larger dogs.

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