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 be prepared 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?

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