Man's Best friend or Foe

Some may say that 2 years old is too young for a first memory. That there is no way a child that young could accurately retain an event and many years later correctly recall it, but I would beg to differ. I can recall this day just like it was yesterday. It seemed as if it was just another cool afternoon in Olympia but it turned out to be anything but. In my mind I was just going on another lovely tricycle ride around my backyard, but it turned out to be the most unforgettable experience of my life. I had an extremely traumatic experience with man’s so called best friend or as I would call them, foe.

            When I was two I lived in Olympia Washington with my mom and dad. Being an only child I knew how to keep myself entertained. My parents had surprised me with the coolest thing I had ever seen in my two short years of life, a tricycle! I wanted nothing more than to take my cool new toy out for a spin. My parents allowed me to take it out as long as I stayed in the back yard, I was set! It was a beautiful day out, the grass was green and the skies were blue and I got to cruise around the back yard on my new ride, I couldn’t ask for a better day. It was going great and I was having the time of my life until I saw it. It was a big dark colored dog and I could tell just by looking at him that he wasn’t friendly. I immediately stopped pedaling and froze. It seemed as if minutes passed, I was just sitting on my tricycle and this dog was standing about thirty to forty feet away from me just staring right back. All of a sudden he made a move towards me. I jumped off of my sweet new ride and booked it as fast as my little legs would take me. Just if I could make it back to our back door I would be safe. This big mean dog was gaining on me and by this time I was in tears crying hysterically and my back door didn’t seem as if it were getting any closer, unlike this dog. I somehow managed to get back to our patio before the dog got to me. To this day we still don’t know how I was able to get our sliding glass door open being as small as I was but my guess would be adrenaline and fear. After my terrifying encounter with my neighbor’s dog I was afraid to go back outside by myself and play so my parents went back out and got my tricycle and brought it inside for me. Then they made an exception. From then on I was allowed to ride my tricycle in the house where I would be safe.

            I managed to avoid dogs for a good eight years or so. My mom and I ended up relocating to southwest Indiana where she was originally from and where a lot of our family still lived. I didn’t mind this because I now lived by my cousins so I always had someone to play with. One afternoon when I was about ten years old I went over to my cousin Jordyn's. We decided that we were going to go on an adventure in the woods that sat behind her house. We were having a great time and we didn’t encounter anything scary while we were in the woods. We were on our way back to her house and just as we were reaching the tree line I spotted a rather large dog standing by her pond. I immediately had a flash back to when I was two and when that dog that tried to have me for a snack. I froze behind Jordyn's and pointed out the dog, she assured me that it was her neighbors golden retriever and it would be okay but I could hear the fear in her voice as she said it. I then proceeded to do something I am ashamed of but I believe I did it just because of my past traumatic experience. Within a split moment I had shoved my little cousin Jordyn’s towards the dog offering her up as bait instead of me and was sprinting back towards her house. This act didn’t go as planned though, instead of going for Jordyn’s the dog started chasing me. I was relieving my most traumatic experience all over again. The pond that sits beside my cousin’s house isn’t exactly the smallest thing. I was sprinting as fast as I could around this pond yelling for my cousin to make it stop chasing me. Her advice which didn’t sound appealing to me at all was to just stop running. I refused; luckily I was a rather active kid so I was able to keep this pace going. After about five or six laps around the pond my aunt Holly finally emerged out of the house and for some reason she was yelling the same advice to me as Jordyn, for me to stop running. By this time I had ran around the pond at least 8 times and I wanted nothing more than to stop but I was afraid for my life. I thought that if I were to stop running the dog would attack me and then I would be history. I didn’t know why my aunt and my cousin didn’t understand this fact. After about ten laps around the pond as I was nearing collapse I ran up the hill to my aunt and hid behind her. All I knew is I couldn’t run for one more second and that she had the best chance at protecting me from this seemingly deadly animal which she did.

            Looking back at these encounters I’ve had in the past I am able to laugh along with my family about them. I do feel as if these experiences have played a major role in my life though. I still to this day am afraid of large dogs but I have learned not to run from them and to stay relatively calm. Growing up I always wanted to have a pet and two years ago I finally got my wish and got a dog. These traumatic experiences I had with dogs didn’t divert me from wanting one but it definitely had an effect when it came to choosing what kind of dog I wanted. I ended up picking a little Yorkie that I named Scooter. He is a friendly little guy who only weighs about six pounds. I believe that the negative experiences I had with larger dogs earlier in life led me to pick the type of breed that I did. I hope that as I continue to get older my fear of larger dogs will start to go away because it has always been one of my wishes to one day have a golden retriever or a type of lab. I have realized that my fear of large dogs isn’t geared towards all of them it is just aimed towards unfamiliar ones whose owners I don’t know or trust or just dogs that generally look unfriendly. Having a guard up towards these types of dogs in reality isn’t a bad thing because not all dogs are nice and they can attack so it’s good to be somewhat cautious.