Mica touched a dog today! Actually she lightly touched Wally’s tail held up to her, but this is a huge breakthrough.
On day 1 in Haiti Mica’s screaming at the guest house when the guard dogs were seen clued us in to a fear that needs help to function comfortably in Vancouver. Our goals for this season of entering our family has been to help Mica feel safe, secure, and understood. Dogs did not help with that, so we did not tackle this fear first.
Occasionally we have had moments out and about. I purposefully choose the leashed dog park, and children in a family that apparently usually has their dog off leash at the same park are asking the mom to let the dog play; the mom blames my girl. (I did stay quiet.) A friendly lady walking with her dog in front of our house results in Mica’s screaming. The lady assures her it’s ok; and I assure the lady, “That it’s ok. She has good reason. Her boundaries need to be respected.” Not the interactions I long to have with neighbours.
Even going to the doctor, Mica has frozen on the sidewalk when seeing a dog. Twice owners kindly crossed the street. Precious friends have shown Mica photos of their dogs, so that she can prepare to eventually visit in their home. Her heart just races; the fear is physiological.
So each of the older siblings has come up with their own dog therapy plan.
Mikayla’s friends came by with dogs, so Mica could watch Mikayla play with them.
Nathaniel gave his “Jack dog” as the first stuffed dog, so Mica could play and develop comfortability.
And Caleb, always something different with this child, pretended to be a dog. Sniffed Mica’s hand, and before you know it, Caleb and Mica were both dogs romping around on the floor. Requesting 2 bowls of water for lapping up. Thankful there was no surprise social worker visit that day!
Another friend has sent pictures of his lovely St. Bernard with a toddler.
A friend from Haiti explained that in Haiti dogs are not friendly to children and children are not kind to dogs. He only made peace with dogs as an adult when he got a guard dog.
Improvement has been coming. She does not scream. Last week a dog passed on the sidewalk and she watched without being held. Over the weekend friends came by again, and Mica got closer, but today was the day.
Step by step the fear has been conquered. Ok, fear is still present but not overwhelming. Thank you Lindsay and Wally!