From Fear to Friend

Everyone is afraid of something. It is a part of life, but what sets people apart is their ability to face their fears. The great Henry Ford sums this up when he says, “One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.” For the longest time I was terrified of dogs, I didn’t want to be, but one bad run-in ruined it for me. It wasn’t until I had the chance to come face- to- face with my fear that I was able to overcome it.   

You might think walking to your best friend’s house to eat dinner with his family sounds harmless. Unfortunately for this nine-year-old, it changed how I viewed dogs for a long time.  As I walked up to the door I saw his dog, Buck, who I was already highly intimidated by. Buck never gave off a friendly puppy vibe– quite the opposite. Buck was a large black lab and not the cuddling type.  

As I approached the door, Buck and I locked eyes. I didn’t think anything of it at first, and I was about to walk in when, suddenly, he jumped up, growled and lunged. It caught me so off guard that there was nothing I could do. He hit me in the chest with both of his paws and knocked me back. Luckily, I didn’t fall, I stumbled backwards and was able to catch my balance just in time to turn and run! I was mortified to say the least. I sprinted across my neighbor’s yard and quickly ran inside my house and locked the door.  This event led to the next four or five years of living in fear of this dog that roamed the neighborhood.  

Fast forward nine years later and it is Thanksgiving 2018. Walking up to the door of my cousin’s house, I encountered two large German Shepherds and they were barking incessantly. At this point in my life, I hadn’t been around dogs a lot since my run- in with Buck, so seeing these two unfamiliar canines rattled my cage. As I stood in the driveway frozen, my cousin came to the door and encouraged me to come on in, assuring me that both were friendly souls. If you have ever been in a situation such as this, you know that no matter what anyone says, it is extremely hard to believe these huge creatures are friendly. I didn’t have a choice though, so I walked on in, and I am glad I did.   

As I approached, the dogs stopped barking, came up to me and were the kindest pups ever. This was a truly life changing experience, because I had been terrified of dogs for the longest time. I arrived at my cousin’s around noon and by 4 p.m. one of the dogs had fallen asleep in my lap on the couch.  

Not only did that experience change my view on dogs in general, but it also unlocked a part of me that fell in love with man’s best friend. Since then, I have tried to convince my family to get a dog, to no avail. Since I can’t have one personally, I do a lot of house-sitting for people with dogs.  

Most recently, I stayed with my friend’s dog, Nash. Nash is a ball of energy, with a seemingly endless battery. From the time I walked in the door to the time I went to bed, Nash followed me everywhere. We took countless walks throughout the neighborhood, and he loved every minute of it, running up to everyone he saw and, of course, sniffing everything within range of his leash. When I would leave in the morning for work, Nash would watch me from the door as I pulled out of the driveway. And he would be at the same spot as soon as I pulled back in after work. That little guy was the best companion, especially after a long day at work.  

Since then, thanks to Vizion Group PR, the firm where I’m doing an internship this spring, I’ve been introduced to our largest client, The National Dog Show Presented by Purina ( It is the two-hour special that everyone watches Thanksgiving Day on NBC. After learning more about this TV broadcast and telling my family about it, we will be paying special attention this fall along with the audience of millions who tune in each year. This amazing production done by NBC is a great, informative reminder or how wonderful dogs are and the life-changing impact they can have on all of us, especially yours truly.  

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