Former Avid Hot Dog Fanatic: …Why, yes. Yes, I do.
My most problematic animal fear is of dogs. It’s actually called cynophobia* and it is very real. Unfortunately, in this dog-lovers-dominated society, not enough awareness has been raised for those who suffer from cynophobia.
Throughout my life, I have been told dozens of times by dog owners, “Oh, she won’t bite. She’s friendly!” So what could I possibly be afraid of? If I know that the dog isn’t harmful, then I should be able to relax and start playing wrestling games with the dog like everyone else, right?
Most cynophobes want to participate in the dog-loving world but simply cannot. Often times, cynophobes are mistakenly deemed as merely, “not liking dogs.” This common misconception can be hurtful to cynophobes because it implies that they distance themselves from dogs out of repulsion, when, in reality, cynophobes are forced to stay away from dogs in order to be able to function normally.
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You know what? Cynophobia or no cynophobia – No, I don’t want to pick up poop off the street on a daily basis, get regularly licked in the face, constantly clean up dog hair, or ever have to abandon my human contacts to return home to tend to a dog. I’m proud to be cynophobic.
*The American Board of Neuro Linguistic Programming defines cynophobia as an anxiety disorder in which one becomes irrationally nervous and uneasy regardless of whether or not the dog presents a legitimate threat.