When I was little, if I missed the school bus in the morning, I had to make a lonely walk down to the end of the street to catch it on it's way back through the neighborhood. Normally, this was no big deal. But one morning, when I was about eight years old, I was making my way down the street when a neighbor's Doberman began to chase me. I threw my lunch at it and screamed bloody murder until another neighbor came to help me. Ever since that day, I've disliked dogs.
And then last spring, as we were all walking down the street to Sydney's bus stop, a neighbor's annoying Beagle chased poor Sydney down the sidewalk and into the path of an oncoming car. Luckily, the car was able to stop a good three feet from a terrified and screaming Sydney. However, the experience traumatized both her and Liam and they both freak out if they see dogs, even small and friendly ones.
As much as we dislike them, I know we're in the minority. In the past couple of weeks we've been to several houses with dogs and while the owners have (mostly) been accommodating by putting their dogs in the garage/backyard, I know this won't happen everywhere the kids go. They have to to learn to be around dogs. And as a non-dog person, I have no idea how to do this for them.
Should I just give in and get a family dog? Surely the kids would get over their fears of them if we got one, right?
The problem is, I really don't want one. I don't want to have to bathe it. I don't want to have to entertain it. And Ryan has informed me that he really doesn't want to have to pick up poop.
So, my internet friends, what do we do? How do we get our kids to stop fearing dogs without actually having to get one? Is that even possible?
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