Day 14 – Share a Fear You Overcame
This one goes back a loooooong time. When I was little, I was terrified of dogs. Like, I couldn’t be in the same room as them…or same house…or park. I don’t know why exactly, though I could guess that being that small they must have looked like giants with big teeth and scary barks. Plus, even since I can remember, we had this terrifying black dog “toy” that I hated. It was about the size of an actual small dog, and was on wheels and had a handle. I still don’t really understand what the point of it was. Was it for me to ride on when I was tiny? Was I supposed to push it around like a kiddie stroller? Was I supposed to pet it like it was a real dog? I have no idea. All I remember is, when it was nighttime I had to walk past the playroom it was stored in to get to my bedroom, and all I could see through the darkness were its glassy eyes looking back at me. I would sprint past the room every night. Needless to say, I never once played with it.
The fear got worse when I was about five. I was at a park with my mum and baby sister, and all I remember was being chased by a labrador. I was terrified and screaming my head off and my shoes fell off and I kept running. The dog obviously thought it was a game, and chased me. The owner didn’t step in at all. What sort of person lets their big dog chase a screaming five year old? I don’t know. An asshole, no doubt.
My sister (always the opposite of me) loved animals. She wasn’t afraid of them, she talked about them all the time…yeah, she was one of those kids. When she turned 4, my parents decided to get her a dog. That was the excuse, anyway, though I have a sneaking suspicion the real reason was because they were embarrassed about having a 7-year-old that was mortally afraid of canines.
I remember all the homework my mum did on which dog breed to get. She trawled through paperwork and books. She wasn’t sure if she wanted a tiny dog or a slightly bigger one. She’s grown up with all kind of dog breeds; my dad hadn’t had any at all. I know deep down she wanted a corgi, but I guess she found too many reasons not to as it didn’t make the final list of options. I don’t really remember what I was feeling as this was going on, though I can guess I didn’t like it.
The day finally came when mum had found a breed she was happy with, and a breeder with puppies. We drove all the way to Geelong (which felt like forever at that age). There was only one puppy left. I don’t remember any of it, but dad has told us countless times that the first time he met the puppy, she peed on him. I guess she claimed him as her own, because she came home with us.
On the way back, we discussed names. I remember that. It came down to two options, Wags (yes, like the Wiggles) or Patch, because of the big black spot on her back. We ultimately went with Patch, which is probably a better option given Wags is horribly ironic when she had a docked tail.
I don’t remember how long it took me to come around to her, though I feel like it actually wasn’t long. I guess maybe because she was so small and the rest of the family seemed to be okay with her, then I was too.
She grew up with me, my faithful furry friend. She lived for 17 years, passing away from kidney failure last year. It was tough, but she’d lived a long (spoilt) life, and by the end was blind, mostly-deaf and somewhat incontinent. She’s the reason I love animals now, and the reason I have my own fluffy friend. I’m glad she came into my life and helped me overcome my fears. I’m sure eventually I would have to some degree, but I know I wouldn’t love dogs like I do now.
Thank you Patchy, RIP ❤