Alfie is my niece and nephew's new Shih-Tzu puppy who, despite being a dog, I'm not afraid of. Yet.
Although, having said that, I don't really ever anticipate being afraid of him due to the fact that:
(a) my phobia has been gradually reducing over the last few years, and
(b) well, I mean, come on, look at him! He's not exactly one of the hounds from Hell is he?
Having said that, I do remember the first time I walked into the open-plan office at work where, upon my arrival, I was greeted enthusiastically by Buddy. Buddy the guide-dog. Even though guide-dogs may just be the animal equivalent of guardian angels [only with more legs and fewer feathers] I still took a sharp intake of breath and subsequently froze. Meanwhile he pushed his face [which is certainly larger than my own] toward my hand. Surrounded by staff who I didn't yet know and standing right next to my new supervisor, the fear of excrutiating public humiliation won out over my fear and I managed to complete my conversation without my legs turning all Scooby-Do-like on me and hurtling me out of the room!
I've mentioned before how I worship Cesar Milan 'The Dog Whisperer' on TV. His programme has definitely helped me understand more about the creatures I've been avoiding all my life and now, rather than 100% all-out fear every time I encounter one, I take them on a case by case basis.
Now if I see a dog, or even hear one [over the years my ears have become ridiculousluy attuned to the sound of their collars jingling and, like Radar from M.A.S.H, I can hear an 'incoming' canine from miles away!!!] then my mind immediately begins drawing a kind of dog-based Venn diagram to work out where on the scale of terror I need to be. It calculates parameters such as; how far away is it?; what breed is it?; how old does it look?; how fast is it moving?; is it on a lead; is it with it's owner?; if 'yes', does the owner look like the kind of person who will gladly keep it away from my jugular vein; And so on. Then, based upon the result of these observations, I decide whether to continue along my way like a rational adult ... or whether to give in to my body's 'fight or flight' reflex and run into the road screaming how no one understands nor cares if I get eaten alive. Something like that anyway.
So, erm, I made the above layout to prove that, as un-dog-like as Alfie was when this photo was taken, I touched a dog, and what's more, [to paraphrase a Katy Perry song] I liked it!!!!