How fear changes us

I have a 9-year-old big black lab named Demon. He’s not named Demon because he’s mean. He’s a big baby. He’s named Demon after my husbands 1972 Dodge Dart Demon that  he cherishes and restored.   I have a yellow lab that growls and barks and chases men in uniform, not in a good way, but not Demon. He wags his tail and sits pretty so anyone and everyone can pet him.  The only danger you’re in when he’s around is getting the slobber from his jaw on you.

Demon recently escaped the back yard.  Between the high winds we had been having and him jumping on a gate it eventually pushed open enough for him to wander out.  He must have escaped sometime early Tuesday morning. We didn’t notice until about 9 o’clock that night.  Now Demon is bigger than average dog but he is black as the night so we didn’t have any luck driving around and walking the neighborhood. I still have no clue where he stayed.

Because he is getting old his hearing and eye sight isn’t what it use to be.  I worried about him wandering in front of cars. Especially since a few years ago we had a dog, demons puppy, who escaped by digging under the fence, and got hit by a car.   I worried that he wouldn’t pay attention to his surroundings and I worried someone who find my sweet boy and keep him for their self.

We all barely slept that night. My husband drove the streets until 2am looking and calling for him.  We posted on Facebook and was blessed it was shared over 100 times on the local animal pages.  When Animal Control and the Humane Society opened my brother visited both but Demon was nowhere to be found.

Around lunch time on Wednesday I got a call from a lady who was standing in a parking lot looking at my dog. She said she tried to confront him but he growled at her and she actually fell and skinned her knee.  I wanted to tell her she had the wrong dog because my dog wasn’t mean at all. So I asked her is he a big black lab? She said he’s huge.  I thanked her and apologized profusely for his behavior. She promised to stay and watch him until I could get there to get him.

I called my brother because he was just a few blocks away and then I called my husband and they both headed over there. Demon has spent so much time with them both I knew he would be so happy to see them.

When they got there and approached him he growled at them both. Stunning them.  We had never heard him growl. EVER.   My husband talked to him in a soothing voice and after a minute it was like a light switch went on and the hair on his back immediately lowered and his tail started to wag. That was the demon we knew.

Fear had taken him over.

Never in a million years would I have guessed my sweet boy Demon would turn on a person.  My nephew use to torture the dog and he would still cuddle with him. Nothing ever made him angry but being alone on the unfamiliar streets where he couldn’t hear or see as well made his fear override all he ever knew or was.

It happens to people too.  It really made me think about all of the situations I have been in when someone or myself was not as friendly as I should have been.  When fear overrides all we really know and controls us. It can make us who we don’t want to be. It can portray us in a way we don’t want to be portrayed.

Fear had taken me over too.  I feared that he wasn’t going to come home or that we weren’t going to find him.  I cried and lashed out at my husband knowing I shouldn’t be.  But it was like I couldn’t stop it.

The definition of fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

Sometimes we fear the situation because we don’t know it. We don’t know that things are going to be bad and we don’t know that things will hurt us. We only assume.  In Demons case this lady was trying to help him get home and he feared her so much he lashed out.  I thank god she was there and hope she knows how much we appreciate her.  And I hope before she left she got to experience the good side of my sweet boy.

Moral of the story here, don’t let fear hold you back. Don’t let fear keep you from moving forward in life.  Don’t be afraid of the unknown.

And more importantly,

Be kind.


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