The Longest Walk // I was terrified of the dog next door

As Told To Chaya Mandel

When we opted to move to the outskirts of our community due to the rising prices in real estate, I was warned that it would require a lot of adjustments. But after a deep breath we took the plunge and bought a nice-sized house 20 minutes from where I grew up—and I’ve never looked back. The green grass, low mortgage and new opportunities have made everything worthwhile. And it doesn’t take too much effort to adjust to a bigger house, after the cramped basement apartment we’d occupied before. Everything was perfect—until I discovered that our neighbors were the proud owners of a ferocious dog.

I have always had a fear of animals. Anything with four legs makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up and sends me running in the opposite direction in a total panic. Over the years, I have caused more than one embarrassing scene (sorry, Hubby), fleeing in abject fear from a stray cat that comes too close to me. So when I found out about the dog next door, my immediate reaction was to pack my bags.

“Aarghhh! A dog!” I shrieked at my husband after we had taken our first walk around the block and were greeted by fierce barking.
“It’s actually a German Shepherd,” he said as he stopped to take a look at the monster behind the gate.

“Run for your life!” I yelled as I sprinted away.

“The dog can’t get out,” my husband reassured me. “You can stop all that running and yelling.”

I paused for only a second to take a peek. The dog was safely behind the gate but I continued to run.

“Stop!” my husband panted as he chased after me.

It was only when I was safe and secure in my kitchen that I stopped running.
“You have to stop being so afraid of animals,” my husband said, shaking his head. “Most dogs don’t bite.”

“But what about the ones that do?” I countered. “We have to get out of here.”
“As in move?”

“Precisely,” I replied. “It’s a good thing we didn’t finish unpacking yet.”

My husband arched an eyebrow. “You don’t mean that seriously, do you?”

“Of course I do,” I said. “There is no way I’m going to have a dog as a neighbor.”

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