AFRAID OF DOGS

Dee and I met in church. Over the years we’ve had occasional telephone calls, stolen moments between services, and random infrequent emails.

When I started blogging Dee was one of our first subscribers outside of my immediate family. She is a very busy lady; Minister, Grad Student, Professional Career, etc… To know that she was actively engaged in my blog posts humbled me. She took the time to keep up with our stories!

I was without words a few weeks ago when Dee informed me she had yet to meet them up close in the flesh and the fur! Surely this couldn’t be true – The Boys have been frequent attendees to numerous church events.

This terrible oversight had to be rectified immediately. I insisted she come over for dinner. I figured this way she could finally meet and play with The Boys.

She accepted, and our dinner date was set!

When the door bell rang the three of us went to the door. We all have our roles:

  • I open the door
  • Harley is the resident greeter, barking out a furrendly hello song
  • Leo brings the toys to show how happy he is that you’ve come over to his house

Sometimes people are a little overwhelmed when they see ALL of us there at once, but they adjust. HOWEVER – this time it was I who was a little surprised when my good friend Dee sprang this one on me while standing on the other side of the glass door:

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Well – no, I didn’t.

Not to worry: 1 – 2 – 3 REGROUP

Although she looked calm, she still held a death grip on my door handle. As I tried to push the door open, she adamantly kept it closed.

“They didn’t look this big on the website” she kept repeating as Harley continued his well rehearsed welcome and Leo waited with his toy dangling from his mouth.

I don’t have an enormous degree of experience with people who confess “I’m afraid of dogs” while standing at my front door. Little did I know I wouldn’t really need to do much, short of recognizing the fear was real and allowing Dee to proceed at her own pace. Harley was going to do the rest.

I waited until she was comfortable and ready to enter. As she stepped into the house I reassured her she was safe, and these two doodles would not harm her at all.

When any guest arrives and initially seems intimidated by their size, we introduce the Caesar Millan’s “no touch, no talk, no eye contact” technique. Harley is familiar with this exercise, and has learned to give our guests some “space.” This worked for Dee and once inside, she quickly sort safety at the kitchen counter…

I figured up high would give her a sense of extra safety

I figured sitting up high would give her a sense of additional distance

We talked a little bit about her uneasiness around dogs, where she believed her fear came from, and then I quickly changed the subject. I wanted her to share but not fixate on the subject. I thought if we focused on something else, she would be able to relax a bit.

It worked! Before long Dee had moved to the couch, and we were lounging in the family room. I had to chuckle because she stopped in mid sentence when Harley moved over and laid down almost “on” her feet…

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She looks like she’s stopped breathing doesn’t she?

Normally a person ALREADY uncomfortable with dogs would have passed out, but before I could say anything Dee told me “it’s, fine, I’m good.” Harley remained there until dinner was served. After our meal Dee (all by herself) took the initiative and bent down to talk to Harley.

When he looked up at her as if to say, “Hi there nice lady, happy to meet you she was hooked. She couldn’t get over that one little move…

It's those incredibly loving eyes Harley has...

It’s those incredibly loving eyes Harley has…

I don’t think either one of us knew at that moment – with the help of a four legged furrend, Dee was working through her “dog issue” all by herself. Harley was teaching her not to be afraid of him…

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No fear – you go girl

Next thing I knew (and I believe a total surprise to her), Dee did the unexpected, she started to pet Harley…

Harley doing that voodoo that he do so well...

Harley doing that voodoo that he do so well…

Shortly after that, there really wasn’t any reason for me to even be in the room. Leo must have sensed she was ready because he wandered over and the three of them just had this “Doodle love fest” going on while I cleaned the kitchen (and snuck some photos!)…

"Love is in the air"

“Love is in the air”

Needless to say by the end of the evening, Harley and Dee had become fast furry furrends – laughing, tail wagging buddies…

I just love these photos

I just love these photos

We had a Doodletastic visit! Dee even called the next day. She said she couldnt’ stop thinking about how much fun she had and that she was coming back soon. She kept telling me: “I want some more play time with Harley & Leo” So I told her anytime, she was always welcome here in “Doodleville.”

We’ll leave the porch light on for her…

Harley & Leo are the BEST!

Harley & Leo are the BEST!

Thanks for reading. Have you ever helped convert someone with a fear of dogs? Have you had a similar experience? Do tell…

14 Comments
  • emma
    February 10, 2014

    Oh my! That has never happened at our house and I don’t know what we would do! So glad it all worked out well and you boys sure behaved nicely!

    • Cathy Bennett
      February 10, 2014

      Emma, Harley would tell you that it was all Leo’s fault, because of his size. But that’s not true. It’s just that Dee had never been inside with two large dogs.
      She’s over it now, and ready to return so that’s an excellent sign that her phobia is gone – at least with two groovy golden doodles that is! Take care.

  • Dee
    February 10, 2014

    WOW!! Harley and Leo are one of a kind! Once I got past their size, I was hooked by their manners… Harley is mesmerizing by his charm and Leo is a gentle giant. I was having such a great time I stayed waaay too late but no body seemed to mind. The doodle family must be very proud of their “boys,” as I am to have experienced the “love” that oozes from this family. Doodlely excited to have an invitation to return for another play date. God Bless! Hugs!

    • Cathy Bennett
      February 10, 2014

      Come on back Dee, hang out as often and as long as you’d like. But note, that my camera will be close by as well…
      Take care and blessing back to you!

  • slimdoggy
    February 10, 2014

    Such a great story – so happy that Dee got to experience the GOOD side of dogs and feel the love and calm that they can bring. Well done Harley & Leo – another convert!

    • Cathy Bennett
      February 10, 2014

      I know right! It was a huge learning tool for me as well Slim. Because they were my dogs, and I knew they would never harm her. I spent the evening observing them, and it was fascinating. They sensed her fear / apprehension towards them and they stayed their distance and respected her body language as if they were waiting for her to relax. It was really interesting. I would love to observe someone else’s dog in a similar scenario. Dogs can teach us so much – simply amazing…

  • Claudette Pope
    February 10, 2014

    That was such a wonderful story. Hi Dee :-). I always felt that Harley & Leo were special, but this display of Love & Understanding was remarkable. You have done such a great job with your boys. I only hope I can be a fraction of the wonderful Doodle Mom that you are when my little man joins me on 3-1.

    • Cathy Bennett
      February 10, 2014

      Hey there Claudette, thank you and I am sure you will be the PAWfect Pet Parent. You’ve waited so long and made sure your world was ready for this, I can’t wait to meet your little bundle of joy. Anything and I mean ANYTHING I can help with – you just let me know. Come spring you can bring your little man over (we’ll call Dee) and they can all run around and have a PAWty in the backyard. Take care and thanks so much for always coming back for more Doodle*licious adventures….

  • Susan from Life with Dogs and Cats
    February 11, 2014

    Love the story. I absolutely ADORE that one picture where Dee has such a great smile. Your dogs are great ambassadors to the non-dog world.

    –Woofs (and purrs) from Life with Dogs and Cats.

    • Cathy Bennett
      February 12, 2014

      Hi Susan, I’ve been blessed with two dogs who seem to light up folks faces all the time. It is an honor to be in their presence. Thanks so much for reading.

  • Ann Staub
    February 12, 2014

    This is awesome! They seem like the perfect crew to help her overcome her fears. Bravo to her for being brave enough to pet them and everything. There is another pet blogger who used to have a fear of dogs also. Her name is Christina from http://peacelovenwhiskers.com/

    • Cathy Bennett
      February 17, 2014

      I’ll have to check Christina’s sit out – thanks Ann.
      Dee is coming back real soon – said she needs some more Doodle love. I’m happy the Boys were able to help her with her phobia, and there was no therapy charge either! Thanks for stopping by…

  • HutchAGoodLife
    February 12, 2014

    What a wonderful story and set of pigtures. Whee have known hoomans scared of us guinea pigs because whee are rodents but when they get to know us they see there was nothing to be afraid of!

    Keep healing peoples 🙂

    Nacho, Noah, Buddy & Basil
    xxxx

    • Cathy Bennett
      February 12, 2014

      Thanks – we think you guys are too cool for doodle school. Love reading your stuff. Great to meet you!

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