Honestly, I’m scared of them. Just when I think I’m over it, one of them bites my daughter’s thumb or knocks down my ninety-year-old neighbor. I get, rationally, that most dogs are harmless, and I’m happy to pet the calm ones I know, but that still doesn’t make me less fearful of big, jumping, lunging dogs. I feel so helpless around unfamiliar dogs, and so confused that their owners don’t control them better. They let their dogs come right towards me with their panting tongues even when I’m circling back away in polite terror.
What am I supposed to say?
You’re not supposed to admit you’re scared of dogs. People laugh at you. They don’t believe you, or they tell you to be tough. They say that dogs can smell your fear. They explain that you put your hand out the wrong way so it’s your own fault that dogs jump at you. They think their own precious, joyful dog coming close to you, sniffing right up your skirt, will be the one to convince you there’s nothing to fear and then you’ll be cured.
It’s just something I live with, this fear of dogs. Fortunately, my parents-in-law have the silliest, goofiest, fluffiest dog that ever existed. I watch it run after a blue ginger-bread-man squeeze toy, with its nails clicking over the floor, and I think, “That is one silly dog.” I also think, “It’s biting a person-shaped toy. That could be me.”
Incidentally, we still have no power from Irene. Day 9.