Boy meets dog

Laura K. Silver is a trustee of the Jewish Light who writes a blog for the paper’s website (stljewishlight.com/laura).  She owns The Paper Trail of St. Louis, a financial and legal concierge service. She is the mother of two elementary school-age children.

By Laura K. Silver

As I sit here, my son has walked over to our dog to pet her and give her a little hug.  Our dog is one of the loves of his life, but it wasn’t always the case.

When I first picked up Logan, she was all of about six inches from front to back. She easily fit on my forearm for the ride home.  I brought our adorable little puppy into the house, excited for our new addition. 

My three year old daughter walked right up to her and was instantly in love;  my three year old son—not so much.  Every time Logan came near him for the first two weeks, I heard high-pitched shrieks, followed by the dreaded phrase, “I don’t like my new puppy!” 

What have I done?  I wondered.

Like any parent, I wanted to do the right thing for my child, but my child and I had different ideas of what the right thing was. My son kept asking when we could get rid of her. 

My husband was bitten by a dog as a child and had always been fearful.  I didn’t want that for my son.  I knew that if I could wait it out long enough, I would be giving him the lifelong gift of not being afraid.

I often see parents whose children are fearful of dogs and who don’t know what to do.  I feel sorry for the kids and my answer is always the same—get a dog.  The real answer to overcoming the fear is living with a dog day in and day out—not testing whether your child will get over the fear temporarily and pet my nice, friendly one.  Only when you live with a dog do you learn to get past the fear.  It is replaced by knowing the feeling of unconditional love and devotion by your new furry pal. 

As I sit here watching my son several years later, it is easy to know that I did the right thing.  He completely agrees.  Incidentally, so does Logan.