Wednesday, August 17, 2011


The other night I was watching The One Where Chandler Doesn't Like Dogs and tweeted  "Don't worry, Chandler, I don't like dogs either."  Then, today, I happened to read two different articles written by dog owners and I've spent all day thinking about my feelings toward dogs.

Basically, its not so much that I don't like dogs, its that I'm afraid of dogs.  Like most fears, telling me I shouldn't be afraid serves no purpose.  Take my brother-in-law's dog, for example.  He's a big dog.  He herds cows.  He's also a nice, well-trained dog.  I've been around this dog on many occasions, as has Meg, and the dog has never behaved aggressively towards either of us.  The dog has never hurt anyone, that I know of.  But I'm TERRIFIED of him.  He's big, energetic, jumpy, overly excited, and he scares the heck out of me.

He IS a good-looking dog, though.
My mother-in-law also has a dog.  A medium-sized dog, who is also well-behaved and even lets Meg crawl around head-butting him.  (I have no idea.)  He is (well, was) a very jumpy dog, too, though, and for years going to my in-law's house caused significant anxiety for me just because I knew this dog would jump all over me.  I met this dog in 2005 and I'm now finally at the point where he doesn't bother me.  I actually kinda, sorta like him a little.  It helps he almost never jumps on people anymore.  And that Meg loves him so much.  However, it should be noted it took me SIX YEARS to grow to like this dog.  
Evidence of the head butting.

My sister-in-law has TWO dogs.  A little dog who once tried to bite my husband, so was banned from being around the kids.  Since my husband doesn't like her, I'm off the hook and am not required to try to like her either.

She also has big dog who was rescued from an abusive situation and therefore was orginally scared of all people.  This worked well, because since I was afraid of him and he was afraid of me, we never got anywhere near eachother.  He slowly grew to trust almost no one wants to hurt him and I slowly grew to trust he wouldn't hurt me.  He's a pretty mellow dog and doesn't bother me on his own.

The problem is when all the dogs get together.  You know how two kids is exponentially lounder than one?  I think its even worse with dogs, because they move so fast and are so oblivious to everything around them when they're playing with another dog.  These dogs go CRAZY with eachother.  Crazy from happiness and excitement, sure, but they run around the house with no regard for humans in their way or small children holding the dog toy they would like to fight over.  They've never hurt anyone and likely never will.  But just sitting here in my dog-free house thinking about them running around makes my blood pressure go sky high.

My husband hates it when I act scared of the dogs.  He thinks it shows I don't trust the dog owners and/or thinks its rude to be uncomfortable when others are doing everything they can to be hospitable.  I DO trust the dog owners and don't want to be rude, so I always try to pretend I'm not scared.  But I am.  I don't know what to do.  I can handle, even like, individual dogs.  But its unrealistic to tell me I SHOULD like dogs or that I shouldn't be uncomfortable around multiple dogs.  I dread visits when I know there will be more than 1 dog around.

There's really nothing to be done about it.  I certainly don't want to tell people to not bring their dogs over.  When everyone is there, there are 7 adults, 6 of whom like dogs and it would be ridiculous for the one who doesn't (ME) to get her way over everybody else.  Also, Meg loves the dogs and I want to encourage that.  I guess just wish I didn't have to pretend.  It's not like I'm fooling anyone.  I'm fairly certain the whole family can tell I don't like dogs.  They know I'm a cat person.  They don't hold it against me.  I truly don't want to make people uncomfortable, though, AND I don't want the kids to pick up on my fear and be scared themselves, so I guess I have to keep on pretending forever.  Even if everyone can tell I'm pretending.


  1. Out of curiosity, WHY are you scared? Maybe if you addressed that, you would feel less uncomfortable.

    Though, even as someone who DOES like dogs, I understand what you mean about dogs running around oblivious to humans and especially small children. My sister just got a St. Bernard and I just was not a fan. He's just too big ... and frankly, kind of dumb.

  2. I am scared of dogs too. I was nipped in the face by a puppy when I was a kid, and then when I was 18 a Rottweiler chased me down the street. I had mostly gotten over my fear by then, but the Rottweiler was kind of a setback. So yes, afraid of dogs. Not of dogs I know, but I still get afraid if a dog I know starts barking or growling at me. I'm afraid of *any* dog who is barking or growling at me, even if they are tiny little purse dogs that I could drop kick. Because it's a phobia, which is an IRRATIONAL FEAR. So trying to reason with me about it doesn't work. I recognize that the tiny little purse dog is behind a fence and can't hurt me, but I am scared anyway.

    "Don't be scared, Jess!" All better now? Sheesh. :)