I wrote about a “red horse” that Chloe took a dis-liking too. The post can be accessed if you click here. As time has passed over the last couple of months, her discontent at seeing the red horse has become WORSE — not better! With a new driver in the van in the form of my 17-year-old son, Chris, I decided that perhaps a trip to the restaurant was in order so that she could see the horses up close – and personal. I wanted her to face her fears not only for her own good, but also so that my inexperienced new driver could continue to learn to drive safely!
There are three horses actually. One horse is in a tiny street level “corral”, the second one is on top of the restaurant sign, and a third is on top of the motel associated with the restaurant.
I was actually a “wee bit” nervous as I wasn’t sure how she would respond. Chloe understands commands and the tone of a voice. But I couldn’t exactly “reason” with her as we exited the van to face her fears. I was surprised that she practically drug me to the first red horse. I didn’t want her to “freak out” as I was in my Fidos For Freedom gear, having just returned from a DEMO to a brownie troupe. I certainly didn’t want Chloe and I to be poor representatives of my favorite organization!
I was a little bewildered that she didn’t even growl at the horse! She has such a fit in the van, I just knew the hair on her back would stand straight up as she barked her head off! As she doesn’t look nearly as cute without a head, I was glad to see her under such control.
Towards the end, she actually started wagging her tail. I was very glad to see her so calmly approach, study, and relax around something that has been upsetting her for months.
What made Chloe so calm around something she’s been so disturbed about for so long?
Perhaps facing her fears along side of someone she trusts helped.
I thought about how true this is of my own life as well.
Facing my fears, is much easier to do and much more successful when I have someone I trust beside me. Obviously, my biggest fear is that of my deafness. I am blessed to have a wonderful cochlear implant that maximizes my hearing, various technologies that improve how well I hear in different environments… yet I will always be a “deaf person”. I don’t hear “normally”, but I do hear. Having Chloe gives me confidence… but her partnership doesn’t give me my hearing back. I trust Chloe’s ears, and she is always beside me. So she helps me face my fears, just by her presence… which in my case is being able to hear the world around me in such a way that I stay “safe” and “aware”.
It’s also important to find people who can come along side you when you are fearful. I think that is why many people search out support when they acquire a disability. The internet is a GREAT thing. One can research, search, and FIND people who are facing the same thing they find themselves now living. There are numerous support groups, organizations, clubs and message boards for those with hearing loss.
Sharing your fears, worries and challenges with like-minded people, allow most individuals to face their fears with a little more determination, a little more courage, a little more optimism, and a little more success.
©2008 Hearing Loss Diary
One thought on “Facing Our Fears”
Yes, facing our fears is important. but facing our fears is easier for us than for a pet or a service dog. Even with a trusted partner at her side. Animals, even very smart, well-trained assistance animals, do not have the ability to “think through” their fears. They can’t figure out the reasons for having them, can’t figures out why, what the associations are, and all that. given how hard it is for us to do the same things, we should be surprised that our service dogs can’t do it! 🙂 But we can do just as you did – provide the support and work with them to reduce that fear and even eliminate it. I believe Cesar Millan’s concept of being the “pack leader” for our dogs is what is needed. You are Chloe’s pack leader, and your lack of fear meant she didn’t need to have any fear. Being pack leader doesn’t mean being “mean,” it simply means taking charge and being the leader in all situations. Chloe has jobs to do, and knows it. You tell her what jobs to do and when to do them. You tell her when she is “off” work and “on” work. With several months of partnership with you as her pack leader, she, comfortable as your “beta,” is less fearful with you at her side.
I’m comfortable with this concept. When “Woof” arrives, I will be his pack leader – he certainly will not be mine. It will take some time for us to develop our relationship and to establish our trust in each other, but we will do it with time.
You and Chloe are well established, so Chloe is demonstrating how much she trusts you. You are with her and are not afraid of something she fears, so she loses her fear of it! This is a tribute to your bond! Hats off to the two of you! Happy-dance!