Dog Phobia Challenges

We, as a family, really need to get more exercise. {Don’t we all, right?} So, I decided that the way to build up our stamina was to park about a quarter of a mile away from the library in order to walk there and back. {I hate walking without a purpose.} And, I would slowly increase the distance that we were walking each time.

Perhaps I should also mention that my son, who has Aspergers, has a severe dog phobia, and anytime we are out {and especially walking} I must scan the area constantly to be sure that we are not going to suddenly have a dog near us. If he sees it before I do, then I have a flight situation on my hands. As you can imagine, this can make for an exhausting experience.

On this particular day, we were coming up on an intersection, and all of a sudden Rex says “Dog!” and breaks to run away – INTO THE STREET. I grabbed his arm, stopped him, calmly asked him for his hand, and held on tight. {In my heart, I was anything but calm!}

I looked around, but I couldn’t see where the dog was, so I asked him. He pointed to a vehicle that had just parked, and said that it was in the SUV. He was afraid that the dog was going to be getting out. As it turned out, the gentleman was just dropping something off, and the dog’s feet never even touched the ground.

After we got home, and the event was over, I spoke to him. I said “You have to promise me that you will not run into the street if you see a dog. A dog may bite you, but a car can kill you.” He explained that he couldn’t make me a promise that he might not be able to keep because he couldn’t think when he saw a dog. {You gotta love the honesty even if the situation is heartbreaking.}

My husband and I talked, and we decided that we simply can’t take the chance. We have decided not to take the chance just to take a casual walk down the street because you can never guess when he might try to take off – dogs I can see are one thing, but dogs that are inside of a car?!? – that I can’t beĀ preparedĀ for. The only other option would be to hold his hand at all times, and at 6th grade, I simply can’t see that happening.

Who wouldn’t want to walk down this beautiful sidewalk?

Do you have experience with dog phobias? I’d love to hear what worked for you in the comments – or perhaps just share your challenges with phobias and we can commiserate together – after all, there is strength in numbers, right?


3 Thoughts on “Dog Phobia Challenges

  1. My kids do not have Asberger’s, but I do understand how it is to mourn for the way your family could be and how hard it is sometimes to accept that for you this IS normal. When my first son was born I was expecting a very different child than the one I got. I swear, he was born a little old man in a lot of ways. He didn’t want to go to the park and swing or slide. He didn’t want the people at Wal-mart to give him stickers. He didn’t like stickers. He didn’t like swings. He didn’t want to learn how to ride a bike. He had sensitivity issues, especially with his feet. His shoes had to be tied a certain way. His sock seams had to be aligned. Everything had to be perfect. His pant legs couldn’t hang down and still can’t. He was terrified of heights to the point that when we went to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, he couldn’t walk across the bridge from the parking garage and I had to walk him separately from our group about a mile (it seemed) to avoid the bridge.

    Then, my second son came along. Afraid of dinosaurs. Afraid of mummies. We had to avoid museums all together for a long time and I LOVE museums. We went to a museum in Nashville and I spent the entire time in one area while my husband took the other 2 kids around to look at everything because my son was afraid of the dinos and the large models of a human heart and brain, etc. My youngest is 14 and he still won’t go where there might be a mummy and a couple of years ago I took him to counseling for 6-8 weeks for his fear of lightning and storms.

    Fortunately for me, all of these things are way easier to avoid than dogs (except storms, you can’t tell about them). I would recommend trying to find a good counselor who can help your son learn ways to distract himself or help you find ways to cope with it.

    My oldest is almost 20 now and he is a delight. He has learned to cope with his fears, phobias and sensitivities in his own way, but it did take a while. My youngest son is getting much better.

    Hang in there.
    Fatcat recently posted..Crochet project for a baby shower gift.My Profile

    • Cat, thank you SO much for the encouragement and I am so glad to hear that, at 20, your son can cope with is fears – and, I imagine that your youngest will as well. Luckily, we are with a therapist already but we’ve been focusing primarily on social skills – perhaps it’s time to talk about the phobias…

      I appreciate you sharing your story with me! It helps to know that others have traveled this path, and that there is hope!

  2. Yes, been there, done that. I have felt resentful at times of my boys for not being who I wanted them to be, but as the years have gone by, I’ve gotten better at enjoying who they are. Not perfect, but better.

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