When I was kid, probably around 5-6 years old, a neighbors dog bit me while playing with it. It wasn’t very serious, just a scratch, but to my child mind it was an awful experience.
After the incident I developed a huge fear of dogs. I ran away from them and hid home or in a neighbor’s yard. If it was a friend’s dog. I’d stay alert and run to another room or somewhere where the dog couldn’t reach me if the dog moved even the slightest.
While growing up I stayed away from dogs, but as time passed, I started warming up to them. The first dog that I didn’t run away from screaming was my cousins’ dog – a Rough Collie named Clara.
She was just the best dog. Her owners trained her really well and she was a very calm dog, that is if you don’t count thunderstorms. She was deathly afraid of thunders and had to be held tightly and the doors had to be closed or she’d run away and try to hide somewhere far away from the storm.
Spending summers at my village and having her visit from time to time really helped reducing the fear of dogs and general anxiety around dogs.
Here in Bulgaria many stray dogs are still roaming at large and can pose a threat from time to time as the packs can easily reach 5-10+ dogs. That has always scared me and made me anxious walking out in the dark when I would hear the occassional barks behind me.
In time I managed to learn that dogs aren’t that scary and I managed to distinguish aggressive dogs from friendly dogs who are looking to play.
Last weekend I made myself proud.
For the past few months we noticed a stray dog walking around the villa house. At first I was pretty afraid of having a random dog circling around us. After a few visits I noticed the dog wasn’t that scary 🙂 It would come around, look at us and then go away.
Took me a bit of courage but in the end I managed to gather all of it, bought some canned food and stood outside with the food in a plastic container, calling the dog to come by and have a good meal.
It’s funny that the dog seemed more afraid of me than I was of it. After a few calls and me taking a step back it came to the improvised cup and started eating.
It was also fun to watch it in the car mirrors as it ran along with us while we were leaving the villa.
Radi’s mother even named him Bear.