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Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 2859
   Posted 7/22/2009 9:22 PM (GMT -7)   
Well, now you will all know what I think about as I sit here unable to sleep because I am on fire.
My sons and children visited over the 4th of July.  My one son has a five year old, Ella and a three year old, Avery.  They are petrified of dogs and everyone in our family has at least one.  They stayed with my youngest son Joel, who had just bought a lab puppy.  The girls screamed at the sight of this little thing.  Either my son or DIL would pick them up and wait for someone to take the dog away.  Finally Joel's wife said "I am not locking my dog in a cage all week.  The girls have to get over it."
When they visited me, they wouldn't come in my house until I put my poor old crippled dog Dylan in the basement.  Avery was forever asking me if he could break through the cellar door.  I took her for a walk around the block and she saw a dog sleeping in the sun behind a fence.  She climbed me like a tree and I had to carry her home.  Ella asked me where Vesta was and I told her she had died.  "Oh, now I don't have to be afraid."
These girls have never been attacked, bitten or mauled by a dog.  My son says he doesn't know where their fear comes from but he is sure they will outgrow it.  I am sure this is why family visits are so short and far and few between.  Last year was even worse.  If Ella heard Vesta barking in the basement she would turn blue from fear.   Here's the kicker...I was talking to Avery on the phone the other night and she heard Dylan in the back ground barking at the UPS man.  She went nuts..over the phone!
My son is director of mental health for central NC...I can't believe he caters to this.  I am sure he wouldn't suggest enabling this to any of his clients.  I would like to say something...but what?
Oh well...just a midnight rant to my fibro friends.  I guess I'll see what's on the 'how to avoid paying taxes' channel.

fibro, menieres disease, RLS, anxiety disorder, disc compression, scoliosis, spinal stenosis TMJ  Meds: Lexapro and valium

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 845
   Posted 7/22/2009 10:08 PM (GMT -7)   
Sorry you can't sleep Donna. 
Is your son's wife afraid of dogs?  The fear had to start somewhere.  It's a shame for the kids because they are missing so much fun.  I'm surprised that they were afraid of a puppy.  Most kids love them I thought.  You would think mom and dad would be helping them overcome this fear.  My one sister was afraid of dogs when she was little but it had to do with her asthma and how my parents kept telling her to not touch dogs because they would make her sick.  I, on the other hand, tried to bring dogs home.
I hope you finally are able to sleep for a few hours.  I know what it is like.
Fibromyalgia, arthritis in spine and hips, IBS, Raynaud's syndrome, hypertension
On the eighth day God created Golden Retrievers.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 1156
   Posted 7/22/2009 10:28 PM (GMT -7)   
At that age a child's fear is learned. Either someone taught them to be terrified of dogs or, something has increased their fears in other areas.

Your son may be in denial.

I was terrified of dogs but I was an abused child. My father however, worked with me to get past the fear (my mother was the abuser). Once I found out that dogs were okay I loved them.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 2859
   Posted 7/23/2009 5:55 AM (GMT -7)   

My DIL is not afraid of dogs.  And actually...when Ella was a baby they had a dog but he died before Ella was crawling around.  We got Dylan and their dog Jordan together, on the same day at the SPCA! (that was when we both were still living in VA Beach).

They claim they are baffled at their pathological fear.  Maybe something happened that they haven't told me about.  I think Avery is mimiking(sp?) her sister, as Ella has been afraid since she was old enough to say doggie.  Also...we went to the horse barn (DIL has a horse) and Ella rode the horse!  Avery cowered against her father, afraid of the fenced in goats, ducks and other animals on the farm.  Ella...not afraid of a big horse but a tiny puppy...don't know!

I got bit between the eyes when I was six years old by a neighbor's dog I played with every day and almost lost an eye.  I was not afraid of dogs, even after that.  Go figure.



fibro, menieres disease, RLS, anxiety disorder, disc compression, scoliosis, spinal stenosis TMJ  Meds: Lexapro and valium

Bella Scarlett
Regular Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 87
   Posted 7/23/2009 6:08 AM (GMT -7)   
I've never seen a child afraid of a dog unless something happened to trigger it. That's sad. The parents really should consider working toward desensitizing them and working through the phobia; there are just too many dogs everywhere for them to go through life like this.
"...All shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well."
Julian of Norwich

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Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 6067
   Posted 7/23/2009 6:53 AM (GMT -7)   
One of my great nieces was afraid of Brandy, 10 lbs of pure love, she would get excited every time a child would come into the house cause she loved children and wanted to kiss each one. My niece would sit down in the floor with Alexis and show her that all Brandy wanted was to be friends with her.
I agree with Bella these girls need to be desensitized by being introduced slowly to calm dogs. Dogs aren't going anywhere and this fear is only going to get worse as they get older if it isn't handled now.
I love my grandchildren dearly but I'm not going to lock my dogs up for anyone, this is their house. All my grandchildren have cats and dogs so I haven't ran into that problem. I did have to get onto my 7 yr old granddaughter for carrying Tiquey around like a doll, she wiggles so much I was afraid she would drop her.
I'm sorry you had such a bad night Donna. That burning is horrible.
Hope your better today.
luv and hugs
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Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 2859
   Posted 7/23/2009 7:45 AM (GMT -7)   

You guys have got me to thinking.  Before we got Vesta and Dylan, we had an 18 month old dog named Leslie.  My son would jog with her around the Army base in VA Beach.  One day he did not put on her choke collar, he took her on a busy street to get to the base, she slipped the collar and got hit by a truck.  He pulled her out of the middle of the street and she bit him it turns out she was in massive pain with a ruptured kidney, broken pelvis and severe internal bleed.  She died a few days later. Anyway, he has an obvious, nasty scar on his arm from the bite.  I am wondering if the girls have asked him what the scar is from and he told them.  It's a thought... and boy is this o/t!  So sorry but this has really been bothering me.



fibro, menieres disease, RLS, anxiety disorder, disc compression, scoliosis, spinal stenosis TMJ  Meds: Lexapro and valium

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 17557
   Posted 7/23/2009 9:01 AM (GMT -7)   
Have they tried holding the girls and bringing a dog close so the adult could pet it?  The child could see that nothing happened.  They might have to do this many times but taking the animal away only fortifies the child with the fears.  When my children were frightened of something they shouldn't be, I would show them that there was nothing to be frightened about.  I taught caution with strange animals, though.
Forum Moderator/ Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia, Crohn's Disease, Ostomy, Diabetes, Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease, Osteoporosis
God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.    2 Timothy 1:7

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 1495
   Posted 7/23/2009 1:47 PM (GMT -7)   
Slowly desensitizing to the dogs is the best way to handle the fear. Precaution: when the children are around dogs and react with fear and the dogs are removed, that actually makes the fear worse. You may have to start with pictures of dogs. If the child can handle it, show a dog far away. Stay with the child around the dog that is far away until the child no longer shows fear. You slowly get closer and closer with the dog. You might have to do this with one child at a time.

My oldest was threatened by someone that he would sic the dog on her if she didn't behave and she was afraid of dogs from age 2 to 8. I didn't know any of these techniques. We got a dog of our own and she got over the fear. I can't remember how we did it - it has been a long long time since that happened.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 204
   Posted 7/23/2009 3:58 PM (GMT -7)   
A friend of mine came to the house and she has 3 children aging from 2-8.  All three of them are terrified of the dogs.  I asked the oldest child "  why are you scared? they wont hurt you, they just like to play"  She said it was because her daddy's girlfriend told them the doggies will get them if they do..........  Come to find out the father's g/f was telling them that if they do bad things the dog will get them.  I agree with is a learned response in children.. They arent born afraid of dogs, someone or something has taught them that.
Diagnosed with Panic Disorder(16 yrs ago)-GERD(12 years ago)-GAD(16 yrs ago)-IBS(12 years ago)-DDD(6 years ago)-Arthritis(since teenager)-Controled HBP(2 years ago)-Diagnosed with fibromyalgia 9-29-08.
Meds: Cardizem CD~Prilosec~Klonopin(prn)~Daily Vitamin~Tylenol~Lyrica

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 599
   Posted 7/23/2009 11:56 PM (GMT -7)   
It took me years and years to figure out why my Mom was afraid of dogs. She had dementia before she died and used to talk about when she was a girl growing up in a rural area. She talked as if it was present tense, which was really interestiing, because it was if I was there. One of her chores was to feed to dog team in the dog lot, and they were working dogs, not pets, so not socialized. She used to put the food down and run, scared to bits.

I don't have kids myself, but I get really upset if I hear parents making idle threats to their kids in public, in order to try and make them behave; it embarrasses me. I overheard one woman tell her child that 'that old lady over there will turn into a witch and eat you' if she didn't sit down and be quiet. The poor older lady was eating lunch with her daughter and had been smiling at them.

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 7/24/2009 7:15 AM (GMT -7)   
i am amazaed at the childrens fear of dogs i have one myself and i dont know what i would do without her she knows when im having a bad day and will lick my tears when im crying she is the softest dog i know and we only rescued her about 5 months ago but as she is a german shepard people are terrified of her and will cross the street to avoid her it makes me and my OH laugh as she is morem scared of them she is scared of everything.
But like someone else said the fear has to start somewhere my niece who is three has two dogs of her own but wil not come to our house as she is afraid of honey the mind boogles.
Lots of love Hunibee xoxoxo
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