I feel embarrassed writing this, as I’m a grown woman, but I have a terrible fear of dogs.
I was bitten a couple of times as a kid and, since then, I’ve avoided them at all costs.
I literally cross the street to get away from them, even if they’re on a lead.
My problem is that my five-year-old daughter desperately wants a pet dog.
She is an only child and my husband and I both think a pet would be good for her, teaching her to care for something else.
But she doesn’t want a cat or a goldfish or a guinea pig – just a dog.
My husband thinks a dog would be positive for both her and me. I’m losing sleep over it – any advice?
Have your say in the comments below
You shouldn’t be embarrassed – it’s a phobia like any other and there are reasons why you feel stressed and afraid around dogs.
My daughter Ciara has grown up with dogs and I can tell you that they’re wonderful companions for children, and owning a pet does give kids a responsibility to care for another living thing.
They develop a really lovely bond.
As for you, it’d be wonderful to be free of this phobia – if only so you don’t have the inconvenience of having to cross the road every time you see a pooch on a lead!
Hypnotherapy can be a really effective way of curing phobias, and it’s a very relaxing and positive experience, too.
And, if you have friends with dogs, why not try some self-help exposure therapy, where you gradually get to know a dog with your friend there.
It’s partly fear of the unknown. Once you get to know just one dog and start to feel comfortable around it, your confidence will grow.
And if you decide to get a dog, don’t make it too daunting for yourself – go for something small and easy to care for. I have an adorable Yorkshire terrier with three legs called Mica, who we rescued. We all love her!
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