This I Believe

Cassie - Staten Island, New York
Entered on April 22, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

A dog who became my best friend

I believe in many things, like there is a heaven and miracles really do happen. But most of all I believe that you should. Most of all I believe that fears are something that can be overcome. A small yet ferocious animal, taught me this very important lesson, a lesson I live by daily.

For years I allowed the fear of dogs to control my life. A simple trip to grandmas became like walking on water; it was impossible. I could not walk into her house unless Sparky, the vicious attacker was locked in the basement. If I saw him from the distance, I would quickly run back to my mother’s comforting car and wait until I saw Sparky’s big brown eyes to pop out of the basement window. This tore me up inside because I knew I wanted Sparky to come and play, but fear controlled me. I had terrible visions inside my head what Sparky would do to me, bite me, lick me with his non stop drool and eat me.

When I was twelve years old, my parents surprised me with a dog, thinking my fear had lessoned, boy where they wrong. I couldn’t comprehend why they would want to torture me like this knowing my fear of dogs. Did they not know all my past experiences where I would do anything to stay away from the viscous creature? I cried and screamed in fear that this dog was going to make my home his very own.

For the first couple of weeks I would barely make eye contact with Sammy, because I figured he would not acknowledge me if I did not show him any attention. I noticed my family simply adored him, covering him in kisses and toys to play with. While my family would watch television in the family room, I would simply hide upstairs because I knew Sammy would be there. I knew I wanted to go down stairs but I just couldn’t do it. The fear was paralyzing me.

One day the fear took over so badly that my body froze like an ice cube. Once my parents would leave for the day to go to work Sammy was left in his cage in the basement. While I was walking home from junior high school I noticed when I was turning the key to open the front door, something was staring back at me through the glass. It was Sammy on the top of the stairs. I couldn’t believe my eyes, how did he get out and escape from his cage? I panicked and ran to my kitchen table and hid under the table crying. I was so scared he would come down and attack me. While Sammy cried in distress, I could not care, I only cared that I was safe.

My fear of Sammy ran my life for many months. I thought it would never go away. However , one day that all changed. After getting my braces put on for the first time I was crying in agony in my mother’s bed. While lying in bed Sammy jumped in the bed but this was different then any other time. He was not the fearful, ferocious dog he once was; he was loyal, kind and caring. He comforted me and crawled into bed right next to me laying his head right on my shoulder.

This moment had changed my life. I learned that fear can not control my life. I would have never known Sammy’s love if I let my fear run my life. This lesson expanded beyond Sammy. It applies to all areas of my life. I realized sometimes when I am most fearful I need to let my guard down and give the situation a chance. Without my fear I am able to live a better life because I am able to experience more. Ultimately this creature that I had feared the most in life became my best friend.