Puppy love: how my dog proved anyone can overcome their fears



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When I was five years old my family packed up our car and traveled to Indiana to pick up our new puppy. The moment we first saw him, he was racing around the room playfully, as if daring us to try to catch him. He is a Bichon Frise, and his small, white, and fluffy appearance lead us to name him Sushi.
Now, thirteen years later, that same dog is still known for darting around our home with a flopping grin on his face. While he is much older, his energetic personality never waivers.
However, there is one asset of himself that has changed. While Sushi was bold and curious as a puppy, over the years he has grown more fearful of loud noises. Thunderstorms and loud insects, like cicadas, often send him to one of my family members or myself’s side in order for him to feel protected.
First, we tried ‘Thunder jackets’ which gave him a sense of added protection during storms, and while that worked wonders during intense downpours, that jacket could not help him remain calm while taking him on his daily walks outside.
While walking him one day I noticed how he would suddenly stop and try to return home, right after exiting our home. After picking him up and comforting him, we would begin walking again only for him to suddenly stop. The cicadas happen to be making so much noise that day, that poor Sushi was too afraid to enjoy the walk he typically always loves.
That is when I began to think about how I could get him to forget about the cicadas and not be so afraid of them. I remembered how much he loved to run around, and an idea suddenly came to mind.
Calling his name and beckoning him to join me in a race, we took off running. I was able to distract him and instead get him to focus in on our competition. With that, he began racing me on the sidewalk, totally forgetting the loud buzz of the cicadas.
Now, whenever he gets scared on a walk I use this distraction of running to help him persevere his fear of loud noises. To this day using the distraction of running, an activity he loves, has always worked as a way to conquer his fears.
Through this experience, Sushi has taught me and hopefully others reading this a valuable lesson: love can always overpower fear.
When in a situation that seems scary or overwhelming, it is important to reevaluate the situation and see how one can associate what they love to the situation in order to feel more comfortable and motivated to succeed at a task. For Sushi, it was making it through a walk despite the loud noises, but this lesson can be applied to all of our lives from school, work, or social hurdles. What you love can be used as a shield against any fear and be used to overcome it!

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  1. Whoa! Go TypeA-Tactics!!!!! Great piece Sarah. Love, DAD

    Dale S. Horne, MD, PhD, FACS


    1. Thank you!!

  2. Aunt glo says:

    No one could have said this better.

  3. Radical.hannah says:

    Guys, this is the best comment ever-Just saying-I didn’t read this yet but that’s a very cute dog and has a very pretty younger sister. Winkity wink wink wink. 😉

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