Facing your fears

Everyone has certain fears in life. A few of the common ones are – fear of heights, fear of water and fear of losing someone close to you. Even I have some fears of my own, one of them being fear of dogs. I’ve been scared of dogs since the time a dog bit me in 8th grade that fear has never left me since then. So much, that I would jump like a spring even if a dog was barking a kilometre away from me or I  would change my route if I see a dog in my direction. So I decided it was high time I faced this fear of mine. And the person, who helped me do so, is my friend Tanushree.

Tanushree invited me to stay in her home in Goa, though I was very tempted because I absolutely love Goa and it is one of the best place for an escape from Mumbai. But I also knew for a fact that she lives with three dogs. For a person like me, that’s like living in a house with three ghosts who can attack you at any moment. So I politely declined her invitation.

The next day I was sitting at home as I had no work and I started thinking that how bad can it be. I mean they are someone’s pets at the end of the day. Then suddenly another thought peaks into my head that the dog that bit me was also a friend’s pet. TO GO or NOT TO GO, the ultimate conflict. And before I could reason with myself anymore, the positive side of my brain told me that I will not get a better opportunity to face my fear. If not now then when? I immediately picked up the phone, called Tanushree and told her that I’m coming. Next day I was in her home in Goa.

Once I reached her place, she locked all three of her dogs in a room and asked me to get comfortable in the house first. After an hour of settling down, she got the dogs out one by one. The first one to come out of the room was Joey, a male golden retriever who didn’t give a damn that I’m some stranger sitting in his house. He looked at me once and then went and sat in a corner away from us. I thought he’s is not so scary. If the other two are also like him then it won’t be so difficult for me to stay at Tanushree’s house after all. The second one to come and great me was Laila, a female golden retriever who was double the size of Joey. She came towards me wagging her tail and my heartbeat kept on increasing. She sniffed me and the sat in front of me. She kept staring at me as if I’m not doing something that she wants me to. She came closer and started patting my thighs. I felt that she is trying to scratch me with her nails and I called out to Tanushree in a scared tone. Next thing I see is Laila puts her head on my lap and looks at me. Her innocent eyes were asking me for nothing but love. My heart melted and the fear suddenly vanished. I couldn’t help myself but caress her and pat her head.  

Looking at these two dogs got me thinking that maybe dogs are not that scary as I’ve always imagined them to be in my head. Then the door opened and the third one came out. A four month old female bull dog mix called Phoebe. Though she was small, but very feisty. She came running and barking towards me, jumped on the couch where I was sitting and then jumped off and went running to the other end f the house, and repeating the same action again. My hands gripped the couch so tightly as if my life depended on it. I looked at Tanushree again for help and she held phoebe in her arms and made her calm down.

I had a change of heart again and thought to myself that I won’t be able to survive a day here with Phoebe around, but as the day progressed my fear started to simmer down. Tanushree told me a lot about the three of them, their characteristics and their behaviour. By the second day I got used to them being around and by the end of the week when I had to return home, I fell in love with them. (Specially Laila, who became my favourite.) 

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