“To Escape fear, you have to go through it, not around” (Richie Norton). In life, everybody has something that they’re absolutely scared of. It could be the biggest thing or, it can be the smallest thing. Whatever it is or however you became afraid of it, it follows you the rest of your life. In my case, it literally does. My biggest fear, and the thing I’m most embarrassed about, is my fear of dogs. Whenever I see a dog, I walk the other way or I stay as far away as possible, and the worst is when they jump on me. The moment they jump on me, I freak out, I look like a girl who just saw a spider. Now, my fear of dogs didn’t just come out of nowhere. I wasn’t born hating dogs, I just happen to have bad luck with them, really bad luck. It seems like everytime I’m around dogs, it never ends well for me.
My first encounter I had with dogs was when I was ten years old. It was a bright, skin melting, August afternoon and it was the annual block party. My neighbor, Mrs. Jeanie, had also just happened to adopted a new dog after her other dog, Lily, passed away. Up until this dreadful, my relationship with dogs was painless, I was just a little boy playing with my neighbors dog from the other side of the fence. That is until my Mrs. Jeanie brought home the newest addition to her family Bogey. My future mortal enemy. The name itself is unwelcoming, when you hear the word “bogey” you think of an Army General yelling out that a bogie was just fired, which is Army lingo for a missile. Now, being the curious ten year old that anyone is at that age, I went over to introduce myself to Bogey. I went into her backyard but, before I could pet the dog Mrs. Jeanie told me,
“Be careful sweetheart he might bite you.”
Instead, I decided to pet him anyway. Big mistake. As soon as I went in to pet him, he bite my hand and just like anyone pulled my hand out but then I ran, and so did Bogey. That’s when the barking started. I ran out of gate running as fast as I could praying that someone who come and save me but, it was impossible not to hear me. I was shouting at the top of my lungs, yelling for someone to rescue because I knew I couldn’t outrun him forever. Luckily, someone heard my cry for help, but it wasn’t just one person that came to the rescue. The entire block came out of their houses to see what kid was yelling bloody murder. Eventually, Bogey was called back by Mrs. Jeanie while I had to tell everyone that they had wasted their time and there was no one to save anymore. Up until that moment, I had never felt so embarrassed before in my whole life. From that moment on, my fear and hatred for dogs would only burn more. At the same time, I knew that one day I would have face my fears and conquer it.
It’s the summer of 2015 and my family and I took a trip to Greece and the one thing I hate about Greece is that it’s crawling with stray dogs. They’re everywhere you go and they always follow you. Some are harmless and won’t bother but a few, will go the distance and chase you. We were in a small village called Kandila, Greece which is where my Grandfather grew up before he left when he was seventeen. It was our first day there and my brother, Tommy, and I were eager to get out and drive my uncle’s offroad 4x4 golf cart. Since I was only fifteen at the time my uncle sat in the passenger seat while I drove. Once we got rolling we were driving down a side street when all of the sudden, I hear the barking of a dog. I slowed down just a little so I could turn around to see what was behind me. Just as I figured, a dog, a fully grown white Labrador who running after us and looked like he hadn’t eaten in years. This was no Bogey. I went into full panic mode and stepped on it. We got away. Deep down, I knew, I knew that that wasn’t going to be the last time I saw that dog.
The next day, Tommy and I rode our bikes to the local basketball court to play for a little. Once we down we headed back home, but the path back to our house had a bit of an incline so we knew it’d be a long ride home. About halfway through our journey the sun beating down on our back, my legs ready to give out. I hear it again. The barking. I say to myself,
“Please God, please don’t let it be that devil of a dog.”
Of course it was, why wouldn’t it be. I made eye contact with Tommy and we booked it, we started pedaling as fast as our hearts were racing, but it wasn’t fast enough. We were so close to home yet so far. We came to the part of the street where it split into two. I told Tommy, who was twelve at the time, to go right and I’ll go straight hoping that the dog would follow me instead of my younger brother. He took the bait. I kept pedaling as fast as I could but every second, every step, every inch he was getting closer and closer. I had to figure something out. Once he was close enough, I stopped on a dime and hit the dog in the face with the back wheel of my bike. David had finally defeated Goliath. As soon as the dog fell over, I dropped my bike and ran home. Once I got close to my house I could see that my brother had made it home safe. I raised both arms up in the air just like Rocky Balboa did after he ran up all 72 steps in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I had finally won. I faced my fears with dogs and won.
Now, I can’t tell you that my fear of dogs has disappeared, I’m still scared of dogs. At least I know now that dogs don’t completely own me.