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Yes, I Am Terrified of 'Man's Best Friend,' and Yes, You Can Help Me

Dogs are coined as “man’s best friend,” and to many their dog is like a human. To me, dogs are what stop me leaving my house.

My name is Claire, and I have a phobia of dogs.

Telling this to strangers is painfully awful and more often than not I am met with a laugh and a naive, “You won’t be scared of my dog… you can’t be… let me show you a picture.”

I am then left staring at the picture feeling like I may pass out and telling them that, in fact, I am still terrified.

So to those who have dogs I ask you, almost beg of you: do not laugh when someone opens up and says they are scared, and please do not take it personally.

Please do not try to force someone to touch your dog or to look at pictures of them.

Please do not be offended when they turn down the offer of coming over to your house because it may be the hardest thing in the world or damn near impossible to even do.

Please do not say your dog will be the one to cure the phobia… it won’t.

And please, please, please, walk them on a leash if possible; it isn’t just for their safety, it’s for everyone else’s too.

The phobia of dogs is more common than you think and unbelievably debilitating, and if I knew I could walk down the high street without an unleashed dog running towards me I would be able to leave my house a lot more often.

I know how much you love your dog, believe me I do, and if I could get rid of this I would. I am trying, but it so difficult and painful to deal with such an intense phobia.

All I need from a friend and a stranger alike is compassion and patience.

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