Sometimes I Think of Dogs

I once had a friend who was afraid of dogs. I didn’t know this until some years after we had met. She visited at a time when I was dog-sitting for an acquaintance and the dog scared her so much so she couldn’t stay in the apartment.

My friend’s fear didn’t bother me but I simply couldn’t relate to it.

Zen, the dog, was a tiny little terrier who was completely cute and harmless.


This is me and Zen the dog. He is actually very small.

When I have a huge fear, that seems so important and justified, I sometimes think about that particular friend and the difference in our feelings towards dogs.

I grew up with all kinds of dogs as pets. I loved them all and have never feared any dog.

My friend on the other hand had been attacked by a dog as a child and as an adult just being around a canine sets her on edge.

What is so terrifying to her is absolutely not real for me.

It’s often like that with my soul mate and I.

I’m so afraid of how others think of me, of men, of women, of violence, of anger, of judgement, of being wrong, of being right, of hoping, and of loosing.

To my mate, all that fear is just not real.

It’s like I live in some foreign country where reality is strangely skewed off kilter while he lives free and strong across the border, grounded in truth and sensing things I don’t yet see.

When we have released a fear about something, or it just didn’t exist in us in the first place, we see the world with more clarity. We easily recognise the untruth that drives the fear in others about that particular issue.

Yet, when we live in fear, the object of our terror becomes like a huge mountain overshadowing everything in our lives. We are desperate to avoid it; we base decisions around it. The fear’s existence becomes a vital factor to consider as we live each day. We elevate it’s untruth into something significant and our hearts constrict in response.

Fear can make us believe that avoiding it is the most crucial thing and really the only thing to do.

That is how fear deceives us. It is how fear controls us.

It’s time for me to turn the tables on fear and to call its bluff.

There’s a rabble-rouser roaming in my heart telling me its time.


Thinking about my friend and dogs, reminds me that what terrifies me now will one day be, at most, a scarce consideration.


18 thoughts on “Sometimes I Think of Dogs

  1. Thalia

    That dog is sooooooooooooooo cuuuuuttteee!!!! Thanku for your message to much needed xx

  2. shannonjust

    Thanks, so much, for this insightful post Mary. What a great lesson on fear. This really hit home. I can relate to your friends fear of dogs, having been attacked by a German Shepard in my early 20’s.

    When I now reflect on that period in my life, it makes complete sense how my anger and rage brought that event through God’s Law of Attraction. Your post helped me “connect the dots” of that unnecessary fear of dogs and how this relates to all of my fears. They truly are self fabricated “untruths”.

    Also, since being bit I believe that dogs do sense fear. They bark and act aggressive towards me ever since that event. Or the other way around? Since I am giving them “bad vibes”? Wow!? What do I look and sound like to dogs? There a several terriers like Zen in my neighborhood and they ALL bark and chase me EVERY time they see me. Makes me anxious thinking about it. Time to go deeper into it, right? “Feel, feel, and feel”.

    It’s also time for me “to call its bluff” on this fear and many, many others. Thanks for the guidance and inspiration. Hearing your reflections and insights, while seeing your progress unfold, is truly so very helpful.

    1. Mary Post author

      Hi Shannon,

      Its funny I was also raised with the message (and experience) that animals can sense your fear. As a child I took this to mean that if you show fear around animals they sense a weakness in you and will exploit it (it is extremely predictable that I interpreted the message about animals and fear in this way given that multi-generational injuries on both sides of my family uphold that the emotion of fear IS an actual weakness that will be exploited by other people unless you hide it). But this is not what really goes on when we are afraid around animals.

      If you can remember what it was like when you were a kid and both your parents became afraid you know that as parents go into fear all love is withdrawn from their child at that time, their focus is on preventing fear and any positive, loving provisions they had going towards the child and its environment are suddenly gone. As the child in that situation, you usually feel very insecure and unsafe because of this withdrawal of love and the sudden loss of any sense of security the love was providing.

      I believe it is the same for animals around us – when humans are afraid of an animal, the animal senses NOT the fear but the LACK OF LOVE and they begin to feel very uncertain about what is going to happen around them. In other words, they sense danger and often they respond in defense – not because they are aggressive but because they suddenly feel insecure in their environment and fearful for themselves. Does that make sense?

      1. Shannon

        WOW!! Yes! That very much makes sense. This totally “flips” how I was thinking on this subject. This explains why the “strategy” I use of trying to “get bigger” and louder, or sometimes, smaller and quieter around animals is having the opposite affect I am hoping to achieve, because it is very unloving. How I do this to animals, and people is something I will be examining much closer now. I was completely focused on my own fear (like a victim), instead of, my own lack of love (with humility). Thank you so much Mary, this is a very very helpful insight!

        1. Mary Post author

          Yes, I think two facts are often overlooked by people in fear
          1. While we hold onto fear and justify it we are simply NOT ABLE to love in relation to what we fear. In other words, while we fear something we don’t love it.
          2. That letting go of our fear is a choice that we have on a moment by moment basis.
          So when fear is triggered and we don’t allow ourselves to feel it we are actually making a choice not to love in that moment.
          Under those circumstances we shouldn’t be surprised that people and animals around us feel unloved and uneasy.
          I know how easy it is to feel like a ‘victim’ of fear but we really do have a choice to let it go. I also know how much I’ve wanted to believe that I can love something or someone while still feeling afraid of them. It really doesn’t work and just isn’t possible.
          The good news is that as soon as we do start to let fear go so many things change and we begin to feel more love for others and to receive more love quite easily.
          So glad that the feedback helped.

        2. David

          What might it mean getting a dog from a rescue (had him from about 3 months), and he’s really wary of other dogs and barks like crazy on the lead when he comes close to another dog but at home he’s so calm and happy? He’s also really relaxed around friends / family / children and with strangers too. It’s just dogs that he acts out around. My other dogs (now running around in the dog spirit world!) haven’t had that type of fear of other dogs, at least not to the same extent. I’m guessing it’s like when one adopts a child, there’s pain in that child that’s more directly related to his or her previous upbringing. The new parents then either exacerbate or give ease to that child’s existing emotional wounds and also can make new ones.

          My dog acting crazy around other dogs, I don’t love him then, I feel embarrassed and often I find myself making excuses like “he’s a rescue dog..” etc. I’m afraid of others opinions and judgement, so on reflection, I’m exacerbating it for him (and me). Arrrrh.

          Lately I’ve just tried to pat him and reassure him when other dogs approach, he definitely responds better to that, my fear here is that I’m doing this wrong, that I’m rewarding him for the aggressive behaviour, well that’s me wearing the “dog trainer” hat. Maybe that’s inauthentic, perhaps fearing being judged, I accept a belief that unloving actions are sometimes needed, so I should just ignore him. That feel so wrong too… Then again, me reassuring him is just a “loving” technique not to feel judged by random dog walkers?? I’m a bit confused with this one, I can see I”m getting all a bit mixed up with intellectual concepts, trying to use my head coz I don’t fully trust my heart, getting caught up with behaviour rather than seeing it’s the feeling that’s the cause. One of those thing to feel about, bloody hell another one – and to feel that too!

          1. Mary Post author

            Hi David,
            Just briefly here are some thoughts:

            1. I would look at the emotions that drove you to get a dog – what does a dog represent to you? what soul based injuries are you avoiding by having a pet? what addictions does having a pet meet?

            2. What emotions drove you to get a dog from a shelter – e.g. how do you feel about you or people around you being mistreated in your childhood? are you showing compassion to animals in place of showing compassion to some wounds from your childhood? were you made to feel responsible as a child and ‘care-take’ for a great deal of suffering that someone in your family had to endure e.g a war experience. (Compassion to animals is certainly not a bad thing and if you are going to have a pet I think its awesome to rescue one that has already been made into a pet but its very common to displace unresolved feelings from childhood onto how we feel about ‘innocents’ such as animals – I feel that there is emoitonal work for you to do in this area)

            3. While its true your new dog has absorbed emotions from its previous experience it is NO ACCIDENT that he is now living with you. His experience is a part of your attraction and signalling some soul issue(s) for you to examine. Answers to the first two questions are a part of what that is about but I also feel that you have attracted a dog who is very afraid of attack from his peers. I see this is you also. So, rather than trying to figure out how to ‘train’ or treat the dog I would be recognising that he is reflecting my fear of attack from others and work on those emotions. Ironically, as you point out, his behaviour in public is already triggering this fear for you.

            Dealing with the first two questions (there are a lot of emotions to look at there) and the third issue of fear should help your dog (by that I mean you – since your dog is just reflecting things for you!) immensely.

            Hope that helps,

            1. David

              Hi Mary,

              Thanks for your feedback, it did help me a lot. Personally I didn’t have a big desire to get another dog, I preferred not to in all honestly but there’s probably a bit more of me placating to others’ wants over my own. However there’s plenty of soul based injuries in that one. For me, as far as I’ve learnt in myself (so far), I’ve wanted to take on the suffering of woman close to me, I’ve felt obliged to, that that’s how I can be loved, and also, that that’s how I can avoid being attacked too. What’s interesting is I’m probably most afraid of being attacked by my women peers, if I for instance was to “come out” and be completely frank about my interests and beliefs. Sparked by your feedback, I wrote a letter to my mum about the time she stood by, as my brother assaulted me just after my father died. That came about by my honesty and standing up for my own experience I had of dad. For me, I’m starting to see how all these things are linked, including my dog I attracted. In the end, I’m glad I got him, he’s very cute and we’ll I’m learning from him too 🙂 Thanks again for taking the time to respond to me and your helpful direction.


              1. Mary Post author

                Hi David,
                So glad I was of some help. I think you are totally on the right track in focusing on issues with women. I feel you suppress yourself a lot in this area, and agree its where most of your fears are.
                Cheers for now,

  3. helgapia

    Thank you, Mary ♥ …. how much more timely and appropriate could your wonderful and wise words be ??? Inching my way through some (more) major fears right now – I JUST (10 minutes ago) read Harriet Lerner’s words (from her book “the Dance of Anger”):
    “It is not fear that stops you from doing the brave and true thing in your daily life. Rather, the problem is avoidance. You want to feel comfortable so you avoid doing or saying the thing that will evoke fear and other difficult emotions. Avoidance will make you feel less vulnerable in the short run but, it will never make you less afraid.”
    There is THAT, as well.
    Before I even FEEL my fears, I create all kinds of situations to NOT have to feel them.
    With a little less self-judgment and self-punishment that does NOW not look like “chicken, coward, loser” any longer, though.
    That actually opens the door for me to take action … tackling fear the way you JUST described above — daring to SEE it for what it is.
    And yes, I have so many different fears to what I know from others to be their fears.
    On top of having very similar fears to almost everyone on the planet 😉
    However, often I can’t see the scaryness in things that freezes and stifles people around me.

    Thank you, Mary — reading your blog (having read your blog from the first word you shared) has helped me, often. Often. Sometimes just through a single , difficult day. Sometimes I came back and back to re-read, and I took courage and inspiration from it that lasted long enough for me to take some action. Some nights I just come here to learn to feel your words more 🙂

    In gratitude,
    with love ♥

  4. Kate

    Lots of judgment and comparison that goes on with fears…like “If you were further along, you wouldn’t feel this or that fear. If you were facing it “the correct way and not avoiding it” then you’d be a better person…a more evolved person. You big baby, you should feel ashamed of yourself for having that stupid fear…grow up and push yourself past it and grow up or you’re proving you’re all talk and no action. IF you want to be loving, you need to grow past that fear NOW.” There’s nothing like deep acceptance and patience while feeling fears – letting go of thinking you could ever know another’s soul enough to compare your own with theirs and then feel better or worse…all just patterns from childhood we keep on re-living. Just takes time before we see our patterns we use around our fears and each of our own souls has it own timing. Who but we ourselves is in control of how deep of a desire we have to want to know the whole truth of our lives and who outside of us is given the badge of JUDGE to decide when we say “It’s time NOW” to look deeper into this or that fear? The more fears I become aware of within myself, the deeper compassion I feel for the very dark experiences I has so very young in my life…this compassion for how dark it was day after day after day after day makes for more room for me to welcome the amount of fear coming up…nothing to be ashamed up, this fear.

  5. sradic68

    AJ mentioned once 33 pages of his fears. I’m now in tenth. You inspired me with this. Thanks.

  6. Tara

    My Dog…
    Brings Me So Much Joy…I Often Call Her The Angel Of The Household…
    Looking At Our Fears Though Is Not Always An Easy Thing..
    It Would Have Been …A Different Journey If I Started Doing This Earlier In my life..
    I Can See Our Fear Often Takes Hold Of Me..And Stops Me From Following My Dreams..Sometimes…I Recently Realized Its worth Doing Though
    Tara Grace
    From Toronto…

  7. telloutmysoul

    Mary How decptively simple this advice is. Mostly I rush through reading valuable information to get to the next thing that might help me instead of lingering over what I’ve already heard, feeling where it might apply to my own life (I resist that a lot) and miss out on the opportunity for personal change. That becomes very wearisome eventually and thank God for that.


    1. Mary Post author

      Hi Amanda,
      I’ve found it useful to begin to consider my fears from the perspective of truth and this post is kind of an encouraging word for others to do the same.
      When we are stuck in fear we justify its existence and never stop to challenge our fear-based beliefs with truth. We believe we are rational in our irrationality.
      ‘Thinking of Dogs’ is my way of saying ‘let me consider how I would feel about this situation or this relationship if I didn’t have fear’. I do it often. I’ve found that it’s helped me to get a grip and to strengthen my faith enough to begin to challenge my fears.
      Its amazing to do this ‘what if fear wasn’t driving me here?’ exercise and to recognise what a contrast there is between what I’ve been doing and what I would actually do if I wasn’t justifying my fear.

  8. Enrique Garcia

    Wow. Truth overload. I often find myself feeling arrogant with others due to information gathered (but not lived) & then I read this blog. Back to earth for my ego.

    I enjoyed reading about animals feeling us as i became aware recently of my 374th passion (or so) this last year or 2 … & that is to help animals especially domesticated ones become undomesticated . I’m not sure how to do this as I don’t even believe in keeping pets & havne’t in my adult life (there’s nothing sadder than a gold fish in a fish bowl) but i know there must be a loving way to help those who are already kept as pets .. not sure if this possible in a city setting. We know they’ll be harmed if we just set them all free .. but it is unloving to cage them for our own amusement … is it loving to keep them safe while we teach them to return to their native/free state ? God knows that i will one day know & is apparently planning to extend days to be 36 hours instead of 24 so i can have time to pursue all these desires i keep learning he put into my soul …

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