Sunday, August 31, 2008

#13 It's A Dog Eat Dana World

Growing up my Grandparents (DeBruyne) always had a dog. I remember the excitement of going to their house and playing various games with my cousins, sisters and the dog. All the games involved the dog climbing over and slobbering on us. For some crazed reason we loved it! (However, face licking grosses me out. That would be the dog licking my face, not the other way around. Yuck!)

When I was 6 or 10 or 13...I don't really remember when...we met for a family get together at my grandparents and of course my grandparent's dog, Spencer, was out running and frolicking in the grass. He quickly changed course and came up all excited to greet us. I reached out my hand to pat him on the head and no sooner did I have my hand out then he bit it. I was shocked, I had not been bitten by a dog ever and especially by a dog I had played with several times before and one who had never bit anyone. To top it off, I was told with a stern voice that I had provoked the dog to bite me. I was so upset.* That moment has never let my memory.

From there on in I would not touch a dog or even come close to one without cringing. Just the thought of touching a dog made me panic. I dated a guy for a short time who had a very large dog and the first time I met the dog I actually broke out in a sweat and practically plastered myself to the wall in an attempt to get farther away. It wasn't until I started dating a guy from New Brunswick that I realized that I needed to get over this fear once and for all. Because let's face it, some men come with dogs and I can't let that get between me and a good man.

Chris had a beautiful, black lab named Cole and when I went to visit him I was forced to deal with the her. Cole was young and rambunctious. I remember the first time I met Cole, I stood behind Chris with a vice grip on his arms and my head pressed against his back as Cole tried to get around him to 'greet' me. I think we actually turned in circles while she jumped trying to get to me. Once she calmed down I started to as well. Chris taught me that I needed to let Cole smell my hand before I touched her, allowing Cole to get familiar with me and know that I was safe. I wish someone had told me that decades ago because as soon as I knew that was the safe way to touch a dog everything changed.

Having not believed it at first, Chris was right when he said that Cole was a friendly dog who wouldn't hurt a fly...other than the ones she pounced on for fun. By the third time I visited Chris Cole and I had become friends and I actually missed her when I left. When I was back in Ontario I would always pester Chris that the next time I came we had to take Cole to the dog park. Yes, I said it, the dog park! It also helped that I would bring a tasty treat to keep Cole occupied when I came. It was also one that would help freshen her doggy breath...but that is another story. I was over my fear of dogs and have since been comfortable with them. But I still won't let a dog lick my face. I don't care what you say that is still gross.

*Sadly, after Spencer bit me he was soon put down for having become violent with other people.

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