If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. Mark Twain

Friday, February 10, 2012

Overcoming Fear with Canine Angels - Part 2

Continuation of Overcoming Fear with Canine Angels  by Amanda Seah and Amanda Tee.

Rover My Angel
by Amanda Seh

I could clearly remember the first time I visited the animal shelter with my friends. I went there wondering what was going to happen and was worried about how the dogs would react to me. When I realized that there was going to be more than one dog around and they were not caged and free roaming, my fear increased. It took me about 15 minutes to conquer my fear and enter the kennel. Many dogs tried to sniff me but I was afraid so I backed off and sat at one corner, trying my very best to avoid all them.

However, one golden retriever approached me and sat in front of me. Karen, one of my close friends who brought me there told me to touch him. After the first touch, I was mesmerized. I could not believe I could have such close contact with a dog and not freak out. I had loads of fun with Rover, the golden retriever when I grew close to him the few subsequent times I went. After each visit, I would go home and at night I would miss their company dearly.  The dogs are really good companions and make really good friends who plays and listens to your problems whenever you face one.

I learnt many valuable lessons from the visits through experience. Recently, I have learnt that chasing a dog is actually frightening them and learn how dogs communicate and how I can understand them and their personal stories better.  I hope that when the dogs get adopted, even though it will be saddening to see them go, I would feel happy that they have found a loving home with owners that will love and care for them like they would with their own child. To conclude, I would just like to say that spending time and caring for the dogs have added additional meaning to my life, develops character, teaches teenagers to sympathize with others and that animals have feelings too.

Overcoming My Fear for Dogs
by Amanda Tee

Since young, I have always been afraid of dogs. Whenever I see a dog, my first instincts is to run as quickly and far away as possible without attracting the dog's attention. Hence, it was an extremely new experience for me to be going to an animal shelter.

I still remember when I first visited the animal shelter; I was partially excited and nervous. What was I suppose to do at the animal shelter? How do I 'interact' with the dogs when I am really scared of it? Despite my fears, I still went in, hoping that I can slowly overcome my fear of dogs.

After opening the gate, my friends and I had to travel to the end of the path before reaching an open area whereby all the dogs are not caged. At either sides of the path, there were many dogs which were locked up. While we walked towards the end, the dogs barked at us repeatedly. As I had not expected this reaction, I hesitated a little in the middle of the path before covering my ears and picking up my pace as we quickly made our way past.

Upon reaching the end, we then entered a small area like a holding area which would lead us to the dogs. Somehow, the dogs knew of the arrival of strangers (us) and immediately started barking. When one of my friends, Karen, opened the side gate, we hurried in, fearing that the dogs would escape. As we entered, the dogs came running towards us. They swarmed around us and continuously smelling us, leaving no opportunities for us to move. Frightened, I then grabbed my friend's hand as we tried our best to make our way through to another empty room to leave our belongings.

Even after I placed my bag down and tied my hair, I refused to leave the room and play with the dogs. The past 5 minutes was too much for me, someone who has never been near a dog before, to handle. In the end, I stayed in the room for 15 minutes before finally getting persuaded to leave the room and face the dogs.

The dogs in animal shelter are very friendly. They bark, however it is only when someone new to them enters their compound.  Otherwise, they will be swarming around us after they are familiar with us. Surprisingly, the dogs in animal shelter also do not bite! Instead they will lick you and put their paws on you, which means that they love you. The dogs there also dislike water. Hence, if you sweep water towards them, it will send them running away.

It was indeed an interesting experience visiting an animal shelter. Originally, my impressions of dogs were that they would pounce and bite strangers. But, after going to the animal shelter, I saw a different side of the dogs. They are very gentle and playful.

Even though my fear towards dogs was reduced, there is still a part of me that would run away at the first sight of dogs.

Lastly, I can say that I have thoroughly enjoyed myself that day and definitely would not hesitate to go visit again.  I hope that when I come back to visit, my fear towards dogs will reduce so that one day, I would be able to confidently say that I am not scared of dogs anymore. Hence, for now, that would be my goal.

The final story on Overcoming Fear with Canine Angels by Ng Yen Wen and Karen Koh to be continued on Monday, 13  Feb.

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"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion."- Unknown