Growing up

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My kids are deathly afraid of dogs. Seriously, they will run screaming bloody murder from a dog that turns in their direction, and we aren’t necessarily talking gigantic dogs, they run from them all. They didn’t run into one this summer but I am sure if we had met up with a chihuahua they would have run screaming from that too. I can’t exactly pinpoint the beginning of this phobia for my kids. I suspect it might have something to do with having a hot dog eaten out of their hands (by a dog) during a junior high pool party a couple of summers ago. Whatever the cause it has been difficult this summer trying to get them used to dogs and trying to keep them from freaking out every time they see one. (Ok so I have to admit, I am not a huge dog person and I don’t really have a desire to have one more thing in the house to clean up after, so I might have given myself a good chuckle a couple of times when I asked the kids if they wanted a dog at our house and there was a resounding chorus of “NO!!!”)

We have been especially working with Ellie because she is the “leader”. What the younger two see her doing they will repeat. I have to admit that I thought it was hopeless at the beginning of the summer. She was crying, screaming, and shaking every time a dog came around her. We have been trying to show her that mommy and daddy aren’t scared and we pet the dogs. Jonathan has held her a couple of times and had her reach her finger out to graze a hair on the back of the dog. She seemed to be getting a little better. The horrific death screams have been eliminated, and this past weekend she walked up to her aunt’s new puppy and pet the dog’s back while she was on a leash, definite improvement. I was thinking to myself that we are getting somewhere with this, it seems to be a slow and long process but we are doing okay.

Well this is a picture from last night. Oh yeah that is my little girl who is afraid of dogs petting a sheep that is pretty much as tall as she is. This wasn’t the first creature she pet last night. She started out with a cow and worked herself all the way up to a horse! Yes, I said she pet a horse. Who is this girl? She was begging to pet every animal last night at the 4H fair. I was flabbergasted, and excited. She kept telling my husband and I that she is brave. Yes, yes she is (incidentally I volunteered to push the stroller so I didn’t have to pet the horse). I don’t know what will be next but as we got into the van she asked if she could ride the roller coaster next time…

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