Some months ago, I was invited to a birthday party with my girls. Their friend, who always comes over to our home to play was celebrating her 5th birthday. So off we went, to the birthday venue which was a walking distance from my home. Minutes after I entered the building, I lost my peace. Because there was a dog at the party. Bummer!
I became grossly uneasy. I could no longer engage in free-flowing conversations with other parents at the party. My heart was beating and I was so uncomfortable. It didn't help too that the dog kept walking around and each time he/she did, I would skip, climb on the chairs and do all sorts of crazy things in the name of fear.
Fear is a prison. Fear embarrasses you and steals your peace. Fear is evil.
The owner noticed how fearful I was and decided to put her dog in a fixed spot so I could be free. The dog no wan gree. (The dog was unyielding). He/she kept pulling away from the place of grounding. So the the owner kept taking back her dog and telling he/she not to move all because of me. Finally, the dog was tied to a chair for the rest of the party.
But that's not all that happened. When I decided it was time for the girls and I to go, the owner set her dog free almost immediately. We went outside - the dog went outside too. We started walking. The dog started walking too - in our direction. My older daughter, became so afraid and despite my numerous pleas to her : "Do not run! Do not run! Do not run!", she started to run. Guess what? The dog started to run too. And I started to run and both of my girls were running. We were running while the dog was running at (or with) us. And we were screaming and crying too.
This created a scene, meaning the people in the surrounding houses came out of their homes to address the situation. One nice lady was comforting my second daughter while I stood somewhere in the in-between, looking like a mad woman wondering where her big sister had run too.
The owner of the dog surfaced, shouting at her pet and asking he/she to follow her back. Once the dog left, my peace returned.
In my lifetime, I have acted too many dramas because of the presence of dogs.
I once entered the house of people I didn't know because of a dog. I was knocking and waiting for an answer so I could distribute my questionnaire, as part of my research as a university student at the time. Instead of humans to answer from inside, a dog approached me from outside. I shoved my way into the already open door to find solace. The ladies who lived in the house showed up moments later to a find a complete stranger in their living room. Thank God they didn't call the police.
I once ran until my shoe came off my feet because of a dog. And this happened only a few months ago right infront of my house.
Some of the worse days of my life were some years ago when I was pregnant with my first daughter. I had to wake up in the wee hours of the morning and walk through the street in my neighbourhood to the main road where I would board a taxi so I could attend antenatal classes. On these days, back in Cameroon I would be intercepted by many angry dogs who were customarily left to roam around at night, before being returned to their chains/cages in the morning. Those walks to the main road consisted of me constantly stopping so a dog could pass. And sometimes trying to run away from a seemingly angry dog.
I am that girl who moves to the other side of the road once I see a dog approaching from one side.
The cynophobia is so real.
Everyday I live this fear. Because a lot of my neighbours have dogs with whom they spend a lot of outdoor time with. To them, they are pets but to me, they are terrors.
Before going out of my door, I peep through the window to see if there are any dogs around. If there are none, I go out and go about my business. But if there's a dog outside... well. I stay inside until there is no dog in view.
It is embarrassing, to say the least. And I feel so ashamed that I am not able to demonstrate to my daughters how to be brave in the face of anything. They are aware of my fear and they and Mr N make fun of me about it all the time.
I always have a feeling that the dogs would run to me and bite. And when they bark... oh! My fear doubles. That sound of a dog barking - I dread it.
It's not like I was one bitten by a dog which made me to live by the cliché saying, "once bitten, twice shy". I have never been bitten by a dog but I fear them with my whole being.
My parents even kept a dog we named, Clash but I never went near him. Thankfully, he was always chained outside the house and only unchained at night. I will make food for him and push it to him, keeping my distance. And on days when my brothers forgot to chain him, I would be so mad at them. I am not not proud of this.
I have reprimanded myself several times for this. I even quote scriptures to myself and rebuke me for being scared of creatures that God made. I tell myself that as a child of God, I have dominion over everything and it is spiritually unethical to be trapped in an unfounded fear of dogs.
But brethren, after saying all these things to myself once I see a dog, I forget all the scriptures. I forget all the motivational quotes on fear. The terror that takes over me at the sight of the four-legged animal cannot be fully explained in words.
So I need deliverance from the fear of dogs. Seriously. I want to be able to touch and play with dogs as I see others do. Or at the very least, I want to be able to act normal at the sight of dogs. I can't continue to live like this.
I once did a Google search to help me overcome this trepidation. My search terms were something like, "how to overcome the fear of dogs". The only thing I took away from that search was the part when the article I read said something like, "to prevent the dog from biting you..." I was like, so it could bite me??? Really?
I have also tried to get acquainted with my neighbour's dog. He let the dog sniff me and that was it. I have planned more getting-acquainted-with-dogs sessions but never got around to doing those.
What is wrong with me? Why do I fear dogs so much? I really want to be able to not fear dogs. Do you have any tips for me? How do I stay safe in the presence of dogs? Do you fear dogs too? What's your approach when there's a dog in your presence? I'll love to hear from you!
Meanwhile, I am so looking forward to when Jesus comes and raptures me. Then we shall live in a world where dogs do not bite.