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  • Writer's pictureAbigail Ann

Facing Fears (Yes, I use to be terrified of dogs!)

We all have fears. There’s always something that we avoid because well, it’s scary! I remember being extremely afraid of dogs. My entire family at some point, had been bitten by dogs; my mom, my dad, and both of my brothers. I thought it was inevitable. Every dog I met, I braced myself, thinking I was next. Thinking back on this, I realize how silly this sounds.

I remember being at a friend's house who had two german shepherds. I’d always asked him to keep them put away when I was around. This day though, one of the dogs was out. I was walking through the grass towards him and another friend. His dog started running towards me and I fell to the ground and laid there in the fetal position, crying. Once his dog got to me, he sniffed around and walked away.

I felt like such an idiot. Trauma looks different for everyone, but generally each person responds in fight, flight, or freeze. I’ve always been the type to run away or freeze. In that moment, I froze completely. My friends came running to me to make sure I was okay, but it didn’t keep me from feeling stupid. I knew I had to do something about this fear but I didn’t know how to handle it.

Fast forward to today and I now have a dog of my own and love dogs! How did this happen? It was a slow process. It all started in 2019 when I started my business. I had an old friend reach out who said she’d love to work with me and needed help with her “bernedoodle biz”. To which I replied with “What’s a bernedoodle?”

Leanne and I reconnected and I ended up helping her redesign her website and helped her set up an Instagram and Facebook page for her business. We worked together for a couple months. She asked if I wanted to come to KY to work in-person. I LOVED this idea, but she had no idea I was terrified of dogs… but her and I had travelled to Africa together, I knew her well. I thought, I should just go. Why not?

I remember getting there and meeting her dogs and puppies! It felt good to face my fear. Plus, these dogs were so much different than any I’d ever met. They were so sweet and hardly ever jumped on me. We got in the car to pick up her daughter and decided to bring one of the puppies with us. They do this to help the puppies get acclimated to new situations. She hopped in the driver seat and I got in the passenger seat. She handed me the puppy to hold and I held it like Rachel did when Ross passed her his baby in Friends. If you’re not familiar with the show, she held the baby in front of her like she didn’t even know how to hold it. This was me with the puppy.

Leanne looked at me and said, “Are you okay?” I said, “Umm… I’m kind of scared of dogs.” She goes, “Girl! You never told me that!” and went to grab the puppy. I told her I wanted to keep holding her. We laughed and I started telling her about my experience with dogs. Macy, the puppy I was holding, laid on my lap the whole time. She stared up at me so sweetly the whole time I was talking. We picked up Leanne’s daughter Ellie and went to get an ice cream. I was extremely impressed that the dog never even tried to get some of my ice cream!

This was the first moment I actually felt like I was starting to overcome my fear. For the next year, I spent many weekends, sometimes weeks at Leanne’s house. We would work on her business and brainstorm together. We became such good friends. Her and her family are family to me now. We’ve walked through so many things together.