True Confession: I’m scared of dogs – Katie
There are several things I am really afraid of in this world. Ketchup water. Mustard boogers. The ocean. Having my teeth fall out. (The list could probably go on for days.) But there is one thing that I am totally, completely, unequivocally afraid of: DOGS. Now, I realize that you must think this is a silly fear but I can assure you, it is not. It is very real. While I have not been severely physically injured (although, as you read on, there have been multiple instances where I have been mauled), the mental injuries continue. Most people will blow off this fear as stupid, I am here to tell you why.
It all began years ago when my family lived in Gaithersburg. Idyllic neighborhood with children playing in the streets, neighbors were friends. Across the street and down the hill lived our friends, The Hagans. The Hagans had three daughters around our age (I have an older sister) and we always played together. I can honestly say I was a little kid – probably the only time I would have been considered “petite.” One day, as I was walking down the hill into the Hagan’s back yard, their giant German Shepherd, Chips, ran towards me. He knocked me down the hill and stood over me while huffing and puffing (is that what dogs do? I don’t even know.). I was scared shitless. I was probably 4? I had no idea what to do to get this dog off of me. No one was around. He was HUGE. I didn’t know what was going on. I had no idea how to get this dog off of me.
Fast forward to almost every single dog interaction I have had from that point on. Dogs have bitten me (unprovoked, I might add. I don’t usually seek out a dog to pet it.) and knocked me over, humped me and barked at me. It’s like they can tell I am worried they are going to rip my face off. When I am at someone’s house, their dogs immediately come over to me. My fear of mauling or other horrible things a dog can do has gotten much, much worse since having a child. They are animals. THEY ATTACK.
I want so badly to like dogs. I want so badly to not be deathly afraid of them. I cannot get over this fear. There are some really scary statistics out there that support my fear. According to DogsBite.org, Dog ownership information for 2013 shows that family dogs comprised 47% (15) of all fatal attack occurrences; 78% (25) of the attacks resulting in human death occurred on the dog owner’s property and 22% (7) resulted in criminal charges and annual data from 2013 shows that 56% (18) of the fatality victims were children 7-years and younger, and 44% (14) were adults, 25-years and older. Of the total children killed by dogs in 2013, 61% (11) were ages 4-years and younger. They go on and on. It’s actually quite frightening.
I cannot help this fear. I cannot overcome it. Don’t take it personally. I probably really like you. And if we are hanging out at your place and you have a dog, please know that I REALLY love you and I’m really trying. I think your dog is cute. I just don’t want to touch it. Or have it rest it’s head on me. Or jump on me and my nice clothes. Or lay on me. I know you are a good owner. I know you are a good person and have (hopefully) trained your dog. But I’ll be happy to look at pictures and love your pup from afar. I will listen to your stories as you listen to my kiddo stories. That’s what friends do.
But they will always scare me.
In defense of dogs and all things furry – Lauren
I am not saying dog attacks don’t happen. They are animals. Animals can attack. But so can humans. The important thing is to train your pets and children to be the best they can be and stay away from children and pets who are violent. I feel like this is a life truth. Just like you wouldn’t walk through a dangerous neighborhood at night, alone, in a miniskirt, with your wallet out… you wouldn’t choose to spend time with animals that are dangerous.
Again, I am not saying this is fool proof. I understand that sometimes pets snap and attack for seemingly no reason. But I refuse to live my life in fear. I refuse to not have pets because some day they might flip. And if I get bitten after 10 years of furry bliss… it’s a price I’m willing to pay.
Also, yes, dogs can tell if you don’t like them. Whn i am out walking, with our without my dog, and i see other pets, i might approach, you always ask iof you can say hi / pet the animal. If you are soothing and smilimg and slow-moving, the aniaml is less likely to be spooked. let’s be honest, if a stranger came up and touched you, caressed you, you would punch them in the face. If a man at a bar is yelling and screaming and throwing chairs… don’t approach him. Or walk by him. Or make eye contact. In fact, leave. Same with pets. If an animal seems on edge, is flipping out, growling, they’re in no mood for company, play, etc.
Again, i know it happens. I am just saying…. there are sooooo many positive effects of owning / caring for a pet. And I think they outweigh the risks.
See example… and cute pics:
6 Ways Pets Can Improve Your Health
Can a “pet” prescription lower your blood pressure? Owning a pet can ward off depression, lower blood pressure, and boost immunity. It may even improve your social life.
Owning a dog can make you healthier: Walking your pet and companionship from them can ‘decrease risk of heart disease’
American Heart Association reviewed studies from around the world. It concluded pet ownership is ‘probably associated’ with decreased risk. Strongest data came from studies which show dog owners walk more.
How Owning a Dog Can Make You Happier, Healthier and Thinner
1.) A recent study found that owning a dog almost doubles the time people spend walking.
2.) Pet owners are also less likely to suffer from depression.
3.) Even just petting your dog can lower your blood pressure,
4.) If you are a new empty nester or living on your own a dog will not only be your companion but can help you make other friends as well.
5.) And if you do have young children in the house, owning a dog can be a great way to teach them responsibility
6.) Playing with your dog can also let you act like a kid again by providing an acceptable outlet to release that inner child and just be plain, well, silly.
7.) Your dog is there for you unconditionally.
8.) And we all can use a stress reliever once in a while.
9.) A dog can be especially therapeutic for seniors since many may be losing the things that once filled their lives.
10.) Finally, having a dog is just plain fun.
Also, some stats…
Fatal dog attacks in the United States are a small percentage of the relatively common occurrences of dog bites. While at least 4.5 – 4.7 million Americans (2%) are bitten by dogs every year, only about 0.0002% of these (less than 0.00001% of the U.S. population) result in death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).