On my street growing up, nearly every house had a dog. Next door on the left was one that paced the circumference of their fenced in yard. He was probably looking for a way out as though he were in prison. He was a wolf basically in my eyes. ( really he was a Siberian Husky) One to the right of us was a very pretty collie. She jumped and had some pretty sharp claws. A hyper little ball of fur. Two doors down was a giant black curly poodle- Whiskers by the name. Not sure that name was appropriate- I couldn’t tell if he even had whiskers. Then the houses near the end of our street had a Doberman pincher named Georgie – seriously Georgie ? Why not something like Fang? Lucky was another dog. An important one actually.
Being a kid in my neighborhood was pretty fine. Except for the dog loving thing. I was a dog hater. I just couldn’t get past the slobbery, sharp clawed, hyperactivity of a dog! If we went to Mrs. B’s house to deliver Christmas cards , we got bonking and almost truck engine sound of a dog!
“Georgie!”, Mrs. B would say in her old lady scratchy voice- “Now settle down.”
Yeah right. Settle down- try calming a tornado. Then there was Molly the Collie. True a very pretty dog. But can you imagine being jumped on and all of the sudden face to face with a drooling slobbery dog that you are forced to dance with? Collies are basically fur with ADD. Added to all of that and I also had the trauma of being bit at age five. I was just minding my own business and all of the sudden this ugly dog comes shooting out of a garage and takes a chomp at me. I had the scar for years after. It is 40 years later, but I bet if I took out a microscope, you could still see it.
One day my brother and his friend took advantage. Such teases boys can be but such horrible creatures too. One day, I was on my home from the white house after playing with my friend so and so. ( Okay her name was Suzie- her name is probably so common she is protected) I had to go through Mollie the Collie’s house to get home. Mollie was nowhere to be found. As I reached her yard, Zoom! Out shoots Mollie. I scream and run back to Suzie’s house and ring the doorbell in the meantime trying to think of an excuse for why I was back. Then, I heard laughing. Those boys had held on to Mollie’s leash in the garage until I came by. Mollie was revved up and ready.
Still working on payback from that experience – its just that age and maturity has gotten in the way.
After some time, Lucky came to save the day. Lucky and my friend so and so. ( I won’t say her name because hers is not so common) One day, I came to so and so’s house and found her petting Lucky under a shady tree. She was just gently petting him. I froze in my tracks and was trying to decide if I should go home. But my friend invited me to come sit down. I don’t know what possessed me to agree- a sudden wave of absolute bravery? Soon my hand was guided by her hand. I was petting a dog not running from one! Thanks to my friend so and so who is now a big so and so- she’s a vet probably the go to one in her area too!
If it weren’t for Lucky and my now Vet friend, I would be where my daughter is right now. I seemed to have passed on the hate of dogs to her. Being a dog hater is not because she is autistic per say. It is because aside from being autistic, she is also …. me! Having another dog hater has had its challenges. Anywhere near a dog and she jumps into the nearest trusted arms. She screams and catches the attention of anyone close by. There are glances, side comments, and dirty looks that say “Get over it girl!”
It’s going to take a long time for my girl “to get over it.” One reason – she’s a six year old me. The other reason- she has autism. The unpredictable behavior , activity, and look of a dog is enough sensory fright for this girl. And to be honest that is probably what made me a dog hater too. I didn’t necessarily change from dog hater to dog lover. We did get a dog eventually. She was kind, gentle, furry, and the only dog we did ever get. Just the one dog and that’s all. Enough experience to help me mature and realize ways to get over my fears. We won’t be getting a dog until forever is over. It isn’t the fear thing – it’s other things- attachment, another family member, work, mess, money- etc. We will simply enjoy the beautiful pals and dog shows from across the street- yeah, we will just be temporary masters to other people’s dogs. But certain ones mind you. They have to have certain credentials.
Maybe you will find a children’s story on the shelf one day about a certain dog hater. Maybe you will gain new understanding if you are a dog lover. Maybe my daughter will one day pet a dog! Maybe not. Regardless, here’s one former dog hater who has passed down her dislike. And off we go to a friend’s swimming pool, and they have a dog. Maybe this is the day? I am thinking maybe not… but then again…