I have a lot of irrational fears. Spiders. Dark bathrooms. Clawfoot tubs. (In every horror movie if something happens in a tub, it’s a clawfoot. I’m sure this is for shooting purposes since it’s not embedded into the wall, but still. They terrify me and I refuse to use them.) Bugs in general- especially ones that fly- butterflies are not cute. Things under my bed. Haunted houses. Clowns. Creepy children.
Most of these can be reasoned out. Like the clawfoot tubs. No? Well, it makes sense to me. And after the Great Spider Infestation of 2009, you would be afraid of them also.
Unfortunately, I have an irrational fear that most of you are going to laugh at me for. It’s okay. Even my husband thinks it’s dumb. And it is. But that’s why it’s an irrational fear. If it was rational, then I wouldn’t have this blog post to write about.
I’m irrationally afraid of dogs I don’t know.
I shall pause for laughter. This could take a while…
And yes, I am the girl who wrote an entire post about what type of dog I want. And I do want a dog. More than anything.
But I will be getting that dog when it’s a puppy so I can learn about it’s personality when it’s small and cute and not scary. Then, when it’s bigger (especially the Airedale), it will be MY dog and I won’t be scared of it. At least that’s the logic behind it.
So, back to the problem.
If it’s a dog I don’t know, I’m pretty well terrified of it, especially if it’s more than a foot tall.
I have to be introduced to the dog, by its owner, and then feel comfortable around the dog and not get any weird vibes that it might turn around and rip my face off at any moment, and then I love the dog. Once I’m past that and it’s a nice dog, I’m sold. I’ll want to play with it all night. Take it home. Cuddle with it. But until then? I will run away.
And today, that’s literally what I did. I ran away.
I’m so embarrassed.
I was doing my run route, which involves more walking than running, but I’m working on it. And today, I was kicking ass. I had run more than I ever had. I had a great running playlist going. And I was less than a quarter mile from being back at our apartment, and I decided to run more. I had energy and was ready to go.
Well, on this stretch of road, there’s a water sanitation plant. We walk by it every time we walk to our favorite bar or to campus and I’ve done this route several times now and I go right by it. When we first walked by, I was hesitant since it had a “Beware of Dog” sign. But everytime, either I didn’t see a dog or it was in it’s dog house and not paying attention to me at all.
So today, didn’t even blink. I was running, Eminem blasting in my headphones, pushing me to push harder, and I glance in the fenced in area out of the corner of my eye, and I see it. A HUGE Rottweiler, which is one of the several breeds that scare the crap out of me, and some other huge dog that I couldn’t tell what it was.
And they were running, full force, right at me.
Yes, there was a fence between me and them, but the sidewalk is right next to it and too close for my own comfort.
And did I just not look and run a little faster to get past them? Did I try to tune out the sounds of their angry barks and just try to keep going?
Nope. That would have been the rational thing to do.
What do I do?
I stop. Dead in my tracks. And turn and run back the direction I came from. And I was close to a busy intersection, so everyone saw me.
I was mortified. I am mortified. I am 23 years old. The dogs were behind a freaking fence for pete sake. And I couldn’t just keep going.
Sadly, I have a history of this. Running away from dogs behind fences.
My mom’s house is crazy close to my elementary and middle school. Like, my mom could watch me walk the whole way from our backyard. Kitchen window if the corn wasn’t growing in the field. Less than a quarter mile. There was even a dirt path for the kids in my neighborhood. It followed the edge of the field and then the side of the road that ran in front of school. When the corn was tall, it was a little strange because you felt cut off from everything.
Along this path was a house with a bull mastiff. You know, this dog:
And this is just its head. These dogs are just massive. And scary. Another breed I’ll never own.
Well, this path, much like the sidewalk today, runs right next to the fence. And this dog has the meanest bark I have ever heard. And when it’s charging at the fence, you’re convinced it’s going to jump right over, just like the dog in The Sandlot, and eat you whole. And I wasn’t lucky enough for the fence to be a tall wooden one. Nope. A chainlink fence that isn’t too much higher than my waist. And this dogs head come to the top of it.
There were many crying fits on my half because of this dog. (We later decided that it had to be blind for it to not jump the fence and he would only start barking and running toward you if you made noise. And dogs hear really well. I tried all the time to be silent.)
So when the corn wasn’t in, I would cut out into the field to make this huge half circle away from the dog and his ferocious barking. The person who help the stop sign when we crossed the street would yell at me every time I did it, but there was no way I was walking by that beast. And when the corn was up and I couldn’t cut out into the field? Lots of crying, running as fast as humanly possible, and asking my mom for a ride to school. And I had to walk to school from 1st-8th grade.
I don’t exactly know where this comes from. We can come up with 2 incidents, but I can’t personally remember either. Both happened when I was about 3 or 4. Once, we were having a family BBQ in the backyard and a neighbor’s dog got lose and came tearing around the corner and knocked into me, which knocked me over and probably scared the crap out of me. The other, we were at a long time family friend’s for a BBQ (lots of BBQs apparently), and he had a huge dog. It’s name was Viking and while it was fluffy like a malamute, it had mastiff in it I think and it was also crazy. Like, even the owner said it had to have a screw lose. And Viking somehow broke out of his enclosure, came tearing around the house, and I guess because I was small, jumped onto the lawn chair I was sitting in, putting his paws on either side of me and being right in my face.
These two incidents must have left some sort of mark on my subconscious because I also have incidents of climbing people to get away from dogs. Once, I climbed my brother while walking to the bus stop at my dad’s when a dog got lose and another time we were at a different long time friend’s house and they, knowing I was terrified of big dogs, put their very hyper dog behind the fence. As were were standing outside, the dog kept jumping (and this was a tall wooden fence) and all of a sudden, she made it over the fence, and before anyone knew what was happening, and without any help, I was sitting on my dad’s shoulder pulling my feet up as high as I could so the dog couldn’t get me. Turns out, I loved that dog after I got older and she calmed down.
This fear has ruined lots of things and I have had to ask people to put their dog in another room, which is just rude of me and I know it. It’s terrible. And I’m afraid I’m going to end up scared of my own dog.
So for now, I stick to cute little puppies and dogs I know. And work on a new running route.